Joint Statement by the EU and Belarus on the EU MIGRATION MISSION to Belarus of 7-9 September, 2009

An EU fact finding mission visited Minsk on 7-9 September 2009. The meeting took place in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and the Eastern Partnership.

The EU mission met within a plenary session with representatives from the relevant Belarusian bodies, agencies and ministries. It was followed by individual visits to these agencies. In concluding the visit, the mission was received by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Valery Voronetski. The dialogue covered a large number of issues related to migration and asylum in a balanced and comprehensive manner, including the organisation of legal migration; integration policies and measures against xenophobia; asylum and protection matters; the tackling of irregular immigration and border control; and broader migration and development matters involving, inter alia, remittances, diasporas and the brain drain. Other issues addressed included the fair treatment of foreign nationals and visa issues.

The EU delegation was led jointly by Ms. Eva ?kerman Borje, representing the Swedish EU Presidency and Mr. Francisco Bataller M., representing the European Commission. The EU delegation included other officials from Sweden, the European Commission and the EU Council Secretariat, as well as from Spain, Slovakia, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, Latvia, Germany, and Estonia. The Belarusian delegation was led by Mr. Aleksey Begun, Head of the Department for Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and included officials from State Border Guard Committee, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The dialogue facilitated a frank, fruitful and comprehensive exchange of information, views and experiences on the following topics:

- legislation and policies in the areas of migration and asylum, including the EU global approach on migration;

- exchange of information on visa issues;

- contribution of migration and migrants to the development of the countries of origin, including remittances;

- circular migration as a possible model for better managing the mobility of persons;

- the EU "blue card" directive and new EU legislation on legal migration;

- ways to mitigate the negative effects of brain drain;

- readmission and return issues;

- border management, security of travel and identity documents;

- human trafficking issues; including rehabilitation and reintegration of the victims of trafficking;

- issues related to the smuggling of human beings;

- matters related to asylum seekers, refugees and internally displaced persons;

- integration policies and experiences and responses to xenophobic violence;

- EU-Belarus migration cooperation;

- issues pertaining to human rights as they relate to migration.

Both sides agreed on the importance and usefulness of this dialogue on migration issues and hope that a follow-up meeting can be organized, when feasible, by the local representative of the EU Presidency and the Commission Delegation.

In addition, the mission had a meeting with local Non Governmental Organizations active in the area of migration and asylum, namely the Belarusian Red Cross, the Belarusian Movement of Medical Workers, "Evolutio", the Belarusian Association of Young Christian Women, the Georgian Cultural and Educational Public Association "Mamuli", the International Public Association "Afghan Community, Compatriots and Refugees", the International Charitable Public Association of Afghan Refugees "Afghan Community" and the Belarus Helsinki Committee. The mission also held separate meetings with each of the following international organizations: the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the United Nations Development Programme, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Minsk, 9 September 2009



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