This is the third Regional Policy Paper of the Balkan Refugee and Migration Council (BRMC). Its main purpose is to present to the general and professional public, as well as to stakeholders, the migration situation in the Western Balkans (WB) region during 2020 and 2021. In the first part of the document, the main points are updates of national legal, policy, and institutional frameworks, as well as an overview of regional cooperation, the European integration process, and cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). Activities of various international mechanisms in the region and their reports related to border management and migration issues are also presented. In the second part, the main focus is on the practice and particular case studies in WB countries. The final section provides recommendations for further improvements in legislation and action, covering related national and regional challenges. In addition to the standard topics, one section of this Policy Paper is dedicated to COVID-19 related to the position of migrants, while another section is dedicated to the WB countries response to the situation in Afghanistan.
As in the first and second BRMC Policy Papers, data in this one was also collected at the national level, since local civil society organisations, BRMC members, have a comprehensive insight into all migration-related issues in their countries. All BRMC members made a valuable contribution in collecting, analysing, and updating data on the national legal and strategic framework and practice, as well as in collecting certain statistics for 2020 and for the first half of 2021. In line with the provided national data, Group 484, as a coordinating organisation in the project implementation, made general conclusions and remarks in the regional context. Our aim was to present all differences and specificities of national legislative, policy, and institutional frameworks, as well as national practices, and the analysis of national policies and practices helped us draw regional conclusions and make regional recommendations. BRMC members owe immense gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for their support in drafting this Regional Policy Paper, as well as the entire three-year implementation of the project Balkan Refugee and Migration Council – Making a Pathway for a Common Western Balkans Migration Policy.