The signing ceremony of a partnership programme between ICMPD and the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) took place on 14th September 2021 in Paris. The partnership programme was drawn up to further develop and strengthen the signatories’ long-standing partnership and institutionalise cooperation in the area of migration governance in a spirit of partnership and mutual trust, in order to create synergies between the activities of the signatories.
The idea that you can solve all migration challenges just in the framework of your national administration is false. If you want to be successful in migration management, you have to cooperate with your neighbours- Tomas Urubek, Czech Republic -
ABOUT THE PRAGUE PROCESS
The Prague Process is a targeted migration dialogue promoting migration partnerships among the countries of the European Union, Schengen Area, Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and Turkey.
The Process originated from the EU financed project “Building Migration Partnerships”, and was launched at the 1st Prague Process Ministerial Conference (back then “Building Migration Partnerships”), culminating in the signature of the Prague Process Joint Declaration in April 2009.
In the Joint Declaration, serving as a common political framework, the participating states agreed to strengthen cooperation in migration management, to explore and develop the agreed principles and elements for close migration partnerships between their countries, following a comprehensive, balanced, pragmatic and operational approach, and respecting the rights and human dignity of migrants and their family members, as well as of refugees.
Over the recent years, most participating states introduced dynamic changes to their migration legislation. Non-EU states largely adapted their policies to the EU acquis.
This approximation of legal systems and national practices, as well as the continuous exchange of knowledge and experience, represent the key achievements of the Prague Process to date.
The main principles and cooperation areas, set by the Joint Declaration and by the adopted at the 2nd Ministerial Conference Prague Process Action Plan 2012-2016 include:
- Preventing and fighting illegal migration;
- Readmission, voluntary return and sustainable reintegration;
- Legal migration with a special emphasis on labour migration;
- Integration of legally residing migrants;
- Migration, mobility and development;
- Strengthening capacities in the area of asylum and international protection.
All six cooperation areas to certain extent mirror objectives of the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), being the overarching framework of the EU external migration and asylum policy. In the context of the GAMM, the Prague Process has been given a priority as a regional dialogue process towards the East. The importance of the Prague Process and its results were also recognised by the European Commission in its Communication on the GAMM of 18 November 2011, and confirmed by the Council of the European Union in its Conclusions of 29 May 2012.
In 2015 was carried out an evaluation of the Prague Process Action Plan implementation in the period 2012 -2014, and the Evaluation report was endorsed by the SOM members at the Senior Officials’ meeting held in Prague in December 2015. The report concludes that the Prague Process has significantly contributed to enhancing international cooperation on migration in the region. The participating states find the six Cooperation Areas set out in the Action Plan as coherent with their national migration policies and complementary to other existing international forums, while the Prague Process activities gave an important stimulus for modifications in the migration management systems.
The current phase of the Prague Process is shaped by the Bratislava Ministerial Declaration, endorsed at the 3rd Prague Process Ministerial Conference in September 2016. Confirming the validity of the Prague Process Action Plan, participating states provided the Process with a mandate for the period 2017-2021.
In 2017, the single-state leadership of the Process was transformed into the collective leadership by the Strategic Group, which is currently composed of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, the ongoing EU Presidency, the European Commission and ICMPD, hosting the Prague Process Secretariat. In 2018, the Strategic Group was chaired by the Czech Republic. In 2019-2020, it was led by Lithuania, which handed over its Chairmanship back to the Czech Republic at the Prague Process Senior Officials' Meeting held in November 2020. The Senior Officials of all participating states continue to represent the decisive body of the Prague Process.
PROJECTS SUPPORTING PROCESS' OPERATIONALISATION
From 2012 to 2017, Poland and six other leading states implemented the EU-funded initiative “Support for the Implementation of the Prague Process and its Action Plan”, also known as the “Prague Process Targeted Initiative ”. This initiative was led by Poland together with Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden, who also took the lead in the initiative’s pilot projects and supported the Prague Process financially on an ad-hoc basis.
As of January 2018, the Prague Process is being implemented through the Prague Process: Dialogue, Analyses and Training in Action (PP DATA) initiative, representing the Strand C of the Mobility Partnership Facility. The PP DATA initiative continues the senior and expert level dialogue and runs the Prague Process Migration Observatory and the Prague Process Training Academy, established in line with the Bratislava Ministerial Declaration. The ongoing work builds upon the results and achievements of previous actions, working towards the next Ministerial Conference in 2021-2022.
Read more about the projects implemented under the Prague Process umbrella here.
What do you concretely get out of migration dialogue?
The policy brief looks at the migration trends of the past 20 years, outlines open questions to be addressed by national migration policies and makes an attempt to set forward four plausible scenarios of how migration to Europe may look in the future. In doing so, the brief also considers the impact of the CoVid-19 pandemic on migration.
The four scenarios envisage the following:
1) ‘Back to the early 2000s’. Rights-based admissions would still play a more important role than labour migration so that many third-country nationals settling in Europe would likely not immediately join the labour market.
2) Migration could be driven by the ‘Instability in the neighbourhood’. Scenario two assumes large-scale future population displacements affecting Europe.
3) ‘More selective admission of immigrants’. This scenario assumes that shortages of labour and skills in a number of EU Member States could trigger major migration policy changes: a shift from present admission criteria to a stricter skills-based selection of labour migrants and/or to a more demand- and employer-driven selection.
4) ‘Going native’. Scenario four assumes that migration policies become ever more restrictive, coupled with a general political consensus on such restrictions and a social climate in which migrants are not welcome.
Much is said and written about the platform economy with many reports and studies highlighting that the majority of jobs will be freelance and platform-based within a few years. In this briefing we look at what the platform economy is, and underline that migrants make up a large percentage of the workers in this sector. Third-country nationals cannot get locked in a technology-facilitated parallel economy which leads to unstable incomes, limited training and social isolation. The COVID-19 crisis has led to rising unemployment and the recovery is likely to be characterised by increased labour market flexibility.
Significant demand remains in some sectors - for both low and high-skilled workers - and the platform economy can help in turning black jobs white and integrating migrants into host country labour forces. Work permits should be granted to migrants where jobs are available, while efforts should be made by all stakeholders to build trust in the platform economy through collaboration and the establishment of a Code of Conduct.