Session on Needs Assessment and Identification of Relevant Regional Inputs for Migration-Related Structures in the Western Balkans

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The regional conference "Sarajevo Migration Dialogue" was followed by the second stakeholder meeting of regional actors within the project "Reducing irregular migration to the EU by strengthening the capacity of migration-related structures in the Western Balkans", co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Austria and implemented by Hilfswerk International in cooperation with the Association for Help and Development “HAJDE”.

In the period from 20 to 22 December 2021, an operational session was held in Budva (Montenegro) with the aim of identifying the needs and relevant regional inputs for structures related to migration in the Western Balkans. A discussion was launched on the best approaches so far and cooperation at the local level of the participating countries, but also at the regional level.

Representatives of the JCP (Joint Coordination Platform) presented the nominated priorities that should be further in the focus of addressing the issue of irregular migration in the Western Balkans, along with representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro, who also gave presentations about mentioned topics with the concretization of previous positive practices and approaches.

The session was followed by a SWOT analysis process related to regional cooperation and capacity flows in the countries, with a focus on return and readmission processes, information exchange and all constraints and challenges in this area. In an open discussion, participants identified shortcomings in regional co-operation, but also suggested concrete steps to improve control of migration processes in the Western Balkans. The positive practices of inter-agency cooperation between the bodies responsible for return, border management, asylum, the fight against migrant smuggling and human trafficking were also highlighted. Previous technical and operational measures related to border control, designed to address irregular migration and specific issues related to border checks, border control, registration and verification, have been identified and presented.