Bulgaria’s cabinet is to ask Parliament to ratify an agreement on a project intended to strengthen capacity to manage migration in “Silk Road” countries that are main sources of migration – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
The cabinet said on April 29 that it would ask the National Assembly to ratify a June 2013 memorandum of understanding on the project.
The memorandum was signed by the interior ministries of Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey, the ministries of justice of Norway and Sweden, the migration board of Sweden and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development.
The cabinet said that Bulgaria would participate in the project, “support for partnership for migration in the region along the Silk Road in the Budapest Process” by providing expertise.
Bulgaria’s financial commitment amounted to 3200 euro – 0.01 per cent of the total project cost, a government media statement said. Most of the funding was provided by the European Commission and the major donors were Hungary, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway.
The Silk Routes Partnership for Migration’s main goal is to promote dialogue and mutual co-operation in managing migration flows taking place along the Silk Routes.
It also promotes co-ordinated efforts in carrying out concrete actions aimed at fulfilling the goals and priorities established in a 2013 declaration adopted at a Budapest Process meeting in Turkey.
The Budapest Process is a consultative forum with more than 50 governments and 10 international organisations aiming at developing comprehensive and sustainable systems for orderly migration. It is one of the longest-standing co-operation frameworks on migration for Europe and its eastern neighbours.
During its more than 20 years of operation, the Budapest Process has developed from an information sharing tool between European countries in a pre-EU enlargement setting to a far-reaching European-Asian forum for improving migration management.
At its 20th anniversary in 2013, the Budapest Process saw the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on a Silk Routes Partnership for Migration adopted by participating countries at a ministerial conference in the Turkish city.
The Silk Routes Region geographically includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Co-operation with these countries started in 2010 and since then these countries have joined as new participating or observer states, according to the website of the Budapest Process.
The Istanbul Ministerial Declaration set the framework of the Budapest Process for the years to come.
The main objective of the partnership is to promote dialogue and mutual co-operation in managing migration flows taking place along the Silk Routes.
Six priority areas were identified for co-operation: legal migration and mobility, integrating migrants and counteracting phenomena such as discrimination, racism and xenophobia, migration and development, preventing and counteracting irregular migration, facilitating return and readmission of irregular migrants, and combating criminal networks involved in the smuggling of migrants, preventing and combating trafficking in persons and and promoting international protection.
The declaration also includes other elements, such as a clear commitment to respect human rights in migration management.
Countries also vowed to ensure the rights of the child and recognise gender-specific aspects of migration. In addition, the negative impact of discrimination, racism and xenophobia on societies and individuals, as well as the potential impact of environmental changes on migratory flows, is addressed in the declaration, the Budapest Process said on its website.
(Photo, of the Bulgarian Cabinet building: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)