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Joint Declaration on the occasion of the third Dialogue on Migration and Integration in the context of the German-Czech Strategic Dialogue in Prague

28.11.2016

The Minister of State for Europe of the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Michael Roth, and the Director of the Department of Advisors to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr Vladimír Špidla, have held their third Dialogue on Migration and Integration, which consisted of intensive and constructive talks to share experiences in connection with refugee policy, migration and integration.

The Dialogue on Migration and Integration is an important part of the Working Group on Foreign and European Policy (WG 1) in the context of the German-Czech Strategic Dialogue that was established in 2015 by the Foreign Ministers of the Czech Republic and Germany. The first Dialogue on Migration and Integration took place on 19 January 2016 in Prague, and subsequent dialogues – which also included visits to integration projects – were held on 20 June 2016 in Berlin, and now on 28 November 2016 in Prague.

Furthermore, the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, Minister of State Aydan Özoğuz, visited Prague on 31 March and 1 April 2016 in order to share experiences on the subject of integration.

Both sides expressed appreciation of their trustful cooperation in tackling common challenges in the spheres of refugee policy, migration and integration. Desiring to further strengthen the mutual cooperation of the Czech Republic and Germany in the area of the response to the current refugee and migration situation in the regions of origin and transit, we intend to commonly support a specific assistance programme through financial contributions in order to address the causes of the current refugee and migration situation in an affected country outside of the European Union.

The participants in the German-Czech Dialogue on Migration and Integration recommend that the cooperation between Germany and the Czech Republic in the spheres of refugee policy, migration and integration be based on the following guiding principles:

- Successfully addressing the refugee and migration situation is a task for the EU as a whole for which we need joint European solutions. As partners and neighbours, we do not need to agree on everything, but we must work together constructively. The Dialogue on Migration and Integration promotes the sharing of experiences and the establishment of common ground between our two countries.

- The primary benchmark for refugee and migration policy, and for integration policy, must be solidarity, shared responsibility and humanity, both with regard to how refugees and migrants are integrated into Europe and with regard to migration partnerships that are established with the countries of origin.

- We have never been one homogenous society in Europe. And no one wants Europe to be that way. Our European societies are based on values. These values are binding for all, including refugees and migrants. We are open to different religions, ethnic groups and cultures, if they respect and share our community of shared values. The values and legal frameworks of the host and transit countries need to be fully respected.

- We must take seriously the concerns and fears of people that have arisen in connection with the recent large migration movements. However, we must not amplify these fears, but rather must seek to reduce them through transparent information and explanation. The Dialogue on Migration and Integration aims to actively contribute to this effort.

- To improve migration management we will continue to work on strengthening external borders of the EU and we will emphasize our efforts towards better prevention of irregular migration and trafficking of human beings.

- Being fundamentally interconnected with our neighbours we will continue holding a dialogue to exchange information on legislation, policies and best practices and explore further possibilities for specific cooperation in the area of migration and integration.

- Addressing root causes of large movements of refugees and migrants is a key and long term ambition. Therefore, in conformity with the objectives of the European Union, we both will financially support a programme in a third country in this context, not only to provide efficient assistance to those afflicted in countries of origin and transit but also with an objective to strengthen our dialogue and exchange on this highly relevant topic.

Prague, 28 November 2016

Michael Roth
Minister of State of the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany

Vladimír Špidla
Director of the Department of Advisors to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

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