The Budapest Process is traditionally structured around three types of meetings: Senior Officials Meetings are the backbone of the dialogue, thematic and regional working groups offer more specific opportunities for cooperation whereas Ministerial Conferences happen seldom and redirect the process where needed.
Senior Official Meetings
SOMs take place annually or bi-annually, gathering senior officials from all participating states and organisations. As the main decision-making body of the dialogue, SOMs discuss ongoing developments, determine the main policy directions and governance of the Process and links the dialogue to global processes.
Senior Official Meetings also take place in preparation for upcoming Ministerial Conferences. After approximately 30 Senior Officials Meetings in the last 25 years, the Budapest Process continues to use these meetings as a wider platform to share and help guide the upcoming meetings and activities.
Regional Working Group Meetings
The Budapest Process Working Groups gather expert officials from national administrations to examine, discuss and share information and best practices on matters dealing with concrete migration challenges. All participating states are invited to take part in the different Working Group meetings despite the specific regional perspective depending on the Working Group. Joint Working Group Meetings also take place and give space for shared expertise and knowledge.
The Working Groups are established as a result of expressed interest from participating states and reflect the main issues discussed in the Process. The following working group structure was adopted in 2010 giving interested states in certain sub-regions an additional platform to discuss migration flows along the Silk Routes:
- Working Group on South Eastern Europe: Chaired by North Macedonia
- Working Group on the Black Sea Region: Chaired by Bulgaria
- Working Group on the Silk Routes Region: Chaired by Turkey
Since 2017, the Process has piloted an annual thematic approach in order to share in depth knowledge on a specific area of migration management and cooperation. This has enabled several Working Groups to focus on the same theme in their specific region.
Other thematic meetings outside of the usual Regional Working Group format also take place depending on requests and priorities of participating states.
Reference Group meetings
Reference Group Meetings are designed for a smaller group of experts and officials to gather in an informal setting (including online sessions) to build upon and follow-up on the conclusions and recommendations reached in the Regional Working Group meetings. Thematic meetings organised by the Regional Working Groups in a priority area can often have a one-year gap or even more before participants meet again to discuss the same thematic area. Thus, the Reference Group, runs as red thread between meetings and opportunities for deepened engagement for the dialogue, whereby capacity-building initiatives, development of guidelines or standards in a specific area, new activities and projects, further research and subsequent publications as well as webinars are set-up.
The Budapest Process held its 6th Ministerial Conference in Istanbul on 19-20 February 2019, gathering 46 participating countries, the European Commission, European institutions and 10 regional and international organisations. The event was hosted by Turkey and chaired by H.E. Süleyman Soylu, Turkish Minister of Interior. 20 Ministers as well as the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Mr. Dimitris Avramopoulos, and 15 Deputy Ministers and States Secretaries took part in the conference. Close to 40 countries adopted the “Istanbul Commitments on the Silk Routes Partnership for Migration” and its action plan “A Call for Action – a five year plan” at the 6th Ministerial Conference.
This political declaration and action plan build upon the achievements of the 2013 Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on a Silk Routes Partnership for Migration while taking into account the migration developments of the past years. It introduces five commitments to be upheld in migration management – to partnership, to comprehensive migration management, to human rights, to support and solidarity and to knowledge.