The Söderköping Process
The Söderköping Process was a cross-border cooperation on asylum and migration. Thirteen countries were involved, including the partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In December 2011 the Process was integrated into the Eastern Partnership.
The Söderköping Process was launched in May 2001 during the first Swedish Presidency, as a cross-border cooperation on asylum and migration in order to respond to new challenges due to EU's enlargement eastwards. From the beginning, the overall aim was to support and facilitate the countries along EU's eastern borders to approach EU through capacity building, knowledge and experience sharing in the field of asylum and migration, in accordance with EU standards and values.
Thirteen countries participated in the Söderköping Process
Thirteen countries participated in the Söderköping Process. Apart from the EU member states Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden, the partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine were involved in the Process. Sweden's involvement was extended and deepened as of December 2010 when Sweden formally joined as participating country.
New strategy during 2009
During the first six months of 2009, the Swedish Migration Board, in cooperation with the project partners as well as the participating countries, initiated a new strategy for the Söderköping Process. The aim of the new strategy was to ensure a continuation of the cooperation and since then the Process was transformed from a traditional partner-driven project to a government-led cooperation, managed by the participating countries. There was also a joint decision taken to work towards an integration of the Söderköping Process into the Eastern Partnership, placing it under the aegis of the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership's Platform 1. Furthermore a rotating chairmanship was introduced. Hungary was appointed the first chair in 2010, followed by Sweden chairing the Process during 2011.
Söderköping Process 2010–2012
On 3 November 2010, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs decided to grant the application for funding for the Söderköping Process during the period of October 2010 to June 2011. The funding was later extended until the end of March 2012. The national project secretariat established at the Swedish Migration Board which was responsible for the coordination and administration of the project functioned until the end of March 2012.
The focus of the work during 2011 was to integrate the Söderköping Process into the multilateral dimension of the EU Eastern Partnership. The integration took place at the annual Söderköping Process High Level Meeting in Stockholm on 8 December 2011 and the first meeting of the new Panel on Migration and Asylum (established under the Eastern Partnership's Platform 1) on 9 December 2011.