ENP AP as an Incentive for Development of an Effective Migration Policy


From the talk to the walk

It is not a secret that the European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan is already adopted and a remarkable list of the activities to be implemented within the ENP AP framework in 2007 is ratified. What does the political document of ENP have to offer to Armenia? Quite a simple and clear process, namely initiation of closer relations with the EU, which will expand from the mere perspective of developing cooperation to something more comprehensive. This implies economic integration and strengthening of the political cooperation.

Based on the ENP principles the RA Government ratified the list of annual activities and priories on July 19, 2007. To be fair, it should be noted that the section on migration is sufficiently clear, the objectives have been defined and the responsible bodies specified. The process has already started. Concrete steps are being implemented within the framework of activities defined for 2007, in particular,

  • In order to regulate illegal migration, readmission agreements have been signed with four European countries. Negotiations over signing agreements with ten other countries are in progress;
  • A bill on regulation of refugee and shelter issues is being discussed;
  • The first step to work out an electronic database on regulation of migration flows is already taken.

Are your legs stretched according to the length of your quilt?

Among the issues concerning the regulation of the RA migration sphere there is one which is extremely important and ambitious, namely to develop a national program of actions regarding migration and shelter issues. To have a National Action Plan means having a fundamental political document on the regulation of the RA migration sphere, which addresses issues regarding prevention of illegal migration, refugees and shelter, control of migration flows, regulation of entry and exit and a number of other issues both defined and yet undetermined in government resolutions. It is exactly at this point that the process is hampered. It seems that the existing resources have not been evaluated appropriately and the fact that there is a need for capacity building for the responsible structures has not been taken into account.

The iron is hot. Once is just left to strike

There is a very conducive environment and prerequisites for moving away from the dead point:

  • The mere existence of the ENP AP already testifies about the fact that both EU and the RA are clearly aware of the whole system of the interests, including political and territorial security;
  • The state institutions have a clear idea of the document and a political will to bring it into reality;
  • The international community is a stakeholder willing to support the initiative through providing assistance both in bilateral relations and expertise;
  • The public demand to publicize issues and stress the urgency of addressing those is gradually becoming more palpable.

What approach can be adopted?

The significance of the issues requires joining the existing resources, including those of international and donor organizations and local NGOs.

The approach should include several phases. During the first phase it is necessary to research the migration issues from the ENP perspective, highlight the core points and develop the outline or the "skeleton" of the political document. At this phase we need assistance, particularly in the form of shared international experience and expertise. Research and analyses are needed, as well as potential solutions and development scenarios.

The second phase should focus on the task of feeding this "skeleton" with "flesh and blood", i.e. working out the content of the document. For instance, it is essential to unite the state, non-governmental and international expertise through creating an inter-ministerial committee and task forces functioning under its supervision.

The third phase should focus on development of a unified and comprehensive list of objectives and actions of a National Program called for the enforcement of the political document regarding the regulation of the migration sphere. The list should highlight and define the relevant responsible institutions, the required financial mechanisms to be used to implement the specified actions and other resources.

This paper has been developed based on the opinions passed by the participants of the discussion organized within the framework of the project "Support to Migration Policy Development and Relevant Capacity Building in Armenia". The event took place on November 9, 2007. The project is financed by the European Union.



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