“Addressing Challenges Together” in Bratislava


20th September 2016

The Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD spoke today at the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Prague Process in Bratislava.

In addressing the gathering of Ministers from EU and neighbouring non-EU States the Minister noted “Today, the world (not just the EU) faces its greatest challenge since the Second World War in terms of managing mass migration and I can confirm that Ireland stands ready to do its bit. Already for example, in addition to an expansion of our quotas within the UNHCR-led resettlement programme, Ireland has also demonstrated solidarity with our European partners by voluntarily opting into EU Decisions on the relocation of migrants arriving on Europe’s southern border.”

The Minister emphasised the need to resolve the ongoing conflict in some countries and developmental issues in others and “to address the reasons why these people need to leave their homeland” in the first place.

Minister of State Stanton, who assumed office in May 2016, went on to tell the conference of Ministers “I am pleased to be here on behalf of the Irish government to lend our support to this proposal for an extension of the innovative approach represented by the Prague Process. An approach which focuses on using verifiable information and exchange of best practice to help EU States and their neighbours better manage mass migration.”

The Prague Process is a targeted migration dialogue and a policy process promoting migration partnerships among the countries of the European Union, Schengen Area, Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and Turkey.

The work of the Prague Process to date has concentrated on assembling established information flows and best practice, and mapping what is really happening on the ground in terms of mass migration patterns into the EU via neighbouring States.

Ireland will continue to lend its full support to this 3rd joint declaration and the continuation of the Prague Process for a further five years to 2021.

The Government has committed to take 4,000 people under the September 2015 Government Decision establishing the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).



Note for Editors

The Prague Process is a targeted migration dialogue and a policy process promoting migration partnerships among the countries of the European Union, Schengen Area, Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and Turkey.

Background to the Prague Process:

The Prague Process was developed from an EU financed project “Building Migration Partnerships” and was officially launched during a Ministerial conference held during the Czech EU Presidency in April 2009. The main aim of the Prague Process has been to promote migration partnerships between the states of the European Union/Schengen area, Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, and Central Asia, as well as Russia and Turkey, in line with the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). In a joint declaration at the time, Ministers from all States party to the process agreed to cooperate on five key areas:

· preventing and fighting illegal migration

· integration of legally residing migrants

· readmission, voluntary return and sustainable reintegration

· migration, mobility and development

· legal migration with a special emphasis on labour migration.

The second Prague Process conference, hosted by the Polish Presidency in Poznan in November 2011, went a step further by putting in place a five year action plan for the development of practical measures to support the aims of the process. Among the activities foreseen in the action plan were the development of a Prague Process knowledge base which would help profile and map migration trends and the collection of best practice on a thematic level.

The European Commission is a strong supporter of the process and provided financial support for the implementation of the Prague Process Action Plan. The process is generally viewed as a useful exercise in terms of fostering good relationships and maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with those States neighbouring the EU’s Eastern border who act as transit countries for much of the migration flows into the EU.

The proposal on the table at this third Prague process conference is to build upon the existing components of the Prague Process Action Plan 2012 – 2016 to help address the myriad of issues that continue to arise from the current migration crisis borne mainly out of the Syrian conflict. As well as continuing with tried and tested actions from the first action plan, there is a proposal to maintain a Training Academy which could be used to analyse various best practices and develop a training platform for officials from State Authorities dealing involved in all parts of the migration process.

Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP)

The IRPP was established by Government in September 2015 as a direct response to the current migration crisis. Under this programme 4,000 people will be accepted into the State from areas of conflict in the Middle East and other areas. So far 377 refugees have been accepted by Ireland under resettlement aspects of the programme and 69 have arrived under the new EU relocation mechanism. By the end of 2016 the aim is that these numbers will have reached 520 (the full resettlement quota) and 360 respectively.