Northern Cluster Meeting
On 9-10 September 2004, the European Commission (EC), the Swedish Migration Board (SMB), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the support of the Cross-Border Co-operation/Söderköping Process (CBCP) Secretariat convened a meeting of the Northern cluster countries of the Söderköping process in Minsk, Belarus. Asylum, migration, border guard officials and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, as well as representatives of international organisations participated in the meeting.
Organised as a follow-up to the yearly senior level review meeting, this event opened a new round of the Söderköping process cluster meetings in 2004-2005. Of the main objectives, the meeting aimed to analyse the consequences of EU enlargement, to update on the most recent developments in the participating countries and in the EU in the field of asylum, migration and border management, and to look into possible ways of sharing of the experience gained by the new EU Member States within the accession process with Ukraine and Belarus.
When addressing the participants, the organisers stressed that EU enlargement warrants the sharing of its benefits - strengthening stability, security, and well-being amongst the EU and partner countries and that issues of asylum and migration are of particular relevance (EC), and placed focus on the transfer of experience from recently acceded EU Member States to Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova (UNHCR).
The Secretariat briefed participants on the most recent developments in the Söderköping process, the activities of the CBCP Secretariat, and the legislative and institutional developments in the Northern cluster countries since October 2003. An overview of the most recent developments in EU policies and practices on asylum and migration, as well as related UNHCR initiatives were presented by UNHCR. IOM introduced the participants its strategy on irregular migration management in Ukraine. This was followed by a plenary discussion of implications of EU enlargement and recent EU policy and legislative developments in the asylum, migration and border management fields in the Northern cluster countries. The presentation of the EU Action Plan for Ukraine (EC) and of Ukraine’s experience with its implementation in the field of border management (State Border Guard Service of Ukraine) drew particular attention of the participants.
Active discussions took place in the working groups on existing systems and procedures on individual registration, their alignment with EU requirements in the new EU Member States and transferring their experience to Belarus and Ukraine, and on proposals for future co-operation and joint actions within the Söderköping process, including more active involvement of NGOs. The participants stressed the need for exchange of experience on existing in the new EU Member States standards and procedures related to reception and detention centres, undocumented and irregular migrants, systems of individual registration, etc. In this context, sharing of the experience of the Baltic Committee on Migration and Border Management issues, of the activities of the Lithuanian aliens registration centre and the information exchange center at the Polish-Lithuanian border could be of significant relevance for all the countries participating in the process. The participants also called for more intense and concerted information exchange.
Based on the outcome of the meeting, the Secretariat will come up with suggestions for further actions within the Söderköping process. The materials of the meeting will be published in December of this year.
|List of Participants||(52 KB)|
|Concluding Document||(132 KB)|
List of Participants