In line with the Priorities of the Montenegro Presidency-in-Office, MARRI Regional Centre organized the first semiannual meeting of the Heads of Asylum Departments Network, which gathered asylum experts from the Ministries of Interior/Security of MARRI Participants as well as representatives from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in Malta.  Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this session of the Asylum Network was organized online via Zoom.

On behalf of the Presidency-in-Office, the opening remarks were delivered by MARRI Participant Representative of Montenegro Neli Rasovic who stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed even more the interdependence between MARRI administrations and the meeting provides “yet another opportunity to jointly confirm our (MARRI’s) commitment to further strengthen mutual relations in this (asylum) significant area”.

Following the welcoming remarks by MARRI RC Director Sashko Kocev, the MARRI delegations had an opportunity to exchange information about the latest state of play in the field of asylum, especially in context of the challenges caused by COVID-19.

One of the main topics on the Agenda was the EASO-MARRI pilot work-plan concerning an establishment of a regional hub for asylum trainings (a sub-activity of the IPA II regional project), to be facilitated by MARRI RC under the EASO’s expertise. In this regard, the two attending EASO representatives, the Project Coordinator at the Third Country Support Sector Beatriz Prieto and the EASO Researcher and Trainer Stefano Torelli provided a comprehensive overview of the evolving process, concluding with the next steps towards a sustainable solution.

The attendees of the meeting commended the EASO-MARRI initiative. They also expressed full support to the MARRI Regional Remote Interpretation Service (RRIS) platform, which was presented by Milica Trpevska, IOM Project Assistant seconded to MARRI RC.

The meeting was concluded with the presentation of the key research findings from the ‘Analysis of the COVID-19 influence on migration in the MARRI region’ referring to the asylum procedures, conducted by MARRI within PaCT Project.  The presentation was delivered by Aleksandar Todosiev, MARRI RC Programme Manager .

24 March 2021 – Meeting of the MARRI Heads of Asylum Departments Network