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Dear all,

I know colleagues are putting together substantive proposals for the JCP February 21-
22 ministerial, also with a view to side meetings with our Western Balkan MS.

Broadly, DG suggests the following:

·   The main lesson of ’15-’16 was allowing irregular migration flows to pass from
country to country only leads to never-ending chaos. Through coordination, the Joint
Cooperation Platform can immunise us from a new crisis.

·    Irregular economic migration is very much a shared problem. Everyone knows the
pressures in the coming months are going to be much greater. So we need to create the
capacity to quick procedures, quick returns and to coordinate border closures again, if

·    Western Balkan countries are not third countries. They are the first partners of the
EU in migration. This has to be recognised politically, also in the support they receive.
When the EU does a deal with countries of origin on forced returns, Western Balkan
countries should be the first beneficiaries of such arrangements.

·    No one country or organisation can do much by itself. ICMPD can help with
implementation in the areas of training, capacity building and exchange of best
practices (for example, on screening). ICMPD is ready to support the implementation of
a regional returns mechanism, also drawing on our experience with the ERINN network
and the FReM project.

·    For the medium to long term, a common registration database for the region — a
so-called Balkandac — would be an extremely useful asset, also with a view to
countries’ EU ambitions.