Skopje – The MARRI Regional Forum of Ministers of Interior/Security held on 3 July 2024 in Skopje crowned the MARRI Presidency-in-Office by the Republic of Serbia (July 2023 – June 2024) and commenced the Republic of Albania yearlong chairmanship over the Initiative. The event was organised in the framework of marking the 20th Anniversary of MARRI which was celebrated on the previous day with high representatives of MARRI Participants, diplomatic corps in North Macedonia, MARRI’s partners, long-term collaborators and friends.

In her welcoming remarks, the MARRI RC Director Snezana Trajanovska MSc thanked the outgoing Presidency, the Committee members and Coordinators, and the MARRI RC team for the intensive collaboration in the past year. Presenting the state of play at the end of the first year of her tenure, she expressed satisfaction with what has been jointly achieved, particularly in strengthening MARRI partnerships, increasing the visibility of the Initiative and fine-tuning the internal proceedings at the Regional Centre.

On behalf of the Republic of Serbia, Dragan Samolovac, Head of the Directorate of Border Police at the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, stressed that in circumstances when international relations and international law are burdened with challenges of global scale, the regional cooperation and the good neighbouring ties remain on the top of the list of the foreign policy goals of the Republic of Serbia.   In the context of MARRI, he said that the Republic of Serbia would continue to develop its capacities in suppressing irregular migration, smuggling, and trafficking of persons while in line with local and international legislation, would continue to advance the position of vulnerable persons, refugees, and asylum seekers. “The Republic of Serbia will continue to provide full support to the work of the MARRI Regional Initiative and will be a reliable partner in all regional activities that contribute to strengthening stability, security and prosperity in the Western Balkans” concluded Mr. Samolovac.

Silvana Banushi, General Director of the General Directorate for Migration and Asylum Development at the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Albania, took over the MARRI Presidency-in-Office on behalf of the Republic of Albania. In her address, she thanked the outgoing Presidency and the MARRI delegations and assured that the new Chairmanship would continue the efforts in line with its priorities for this Initiative.

The Forum adopted the MARRI RC Budget June 2023 – July 2024, the Independent Audit Report for 2023, and the Priorities and Annual Calendar of Events of the next Presidency-in-Office by the Republic of Albania (July 2024 – June 2025). It also endorsed the new MARRI – GIZ project “Fostering economic opportunities of the MARRI Participants administrations by enhancing the system for international protection” (PeMo), to be implemented in the period of July 2024 – December 2024. All documents were discussed and recommended for adoption by the MARRI Regional Committee at its regular session held a day before at the MARRI Regional Centre in Skopje.

All MARRI Delegations recognized the importance of regional cooperation in overcoming the regional challenges in migration governance and highlighted the valuable role of MARRI in facilitating the regional exchange through projects and products.  The Belgrade Declaration that was also adopted reflects the political commitments of the MARRI Participants in the format of this Initiative.

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2-3 July 2024 – MARRI Regional Committee and Forum Meetings in Skopje, North Macedonia