1. Increase of the reception capacity in Montenegro according to standards and in a protection sensitive way; Since mid-2017, the Montenegrin reception capacity has been exceeded on several occasions. The Government has responded by renting additional accommodation facilities from a private company. This poses a huge financial burden on the Government. Furthermore, standards within the private alternative accommodation facilities are below those provided in the state–run Reception Centre. In order to respond to the growing challenges and provide appropriate accommodation standards for all persons in the asylum procedure and consistent access to basic needs and services, Montenegro pledges: 1) By 2023 to enlarge the Reception Centre in Spuz to accommodate foreigners seeking international protection, 2) By 2021 to adapt the Bozaj outpost with full respect to the rights of asylum seekers and migrants, and enable access to international organizations and civil society, and 3) By 2021 to ensure preparedness in case of influx of migrants and asylum seekers in Pljevlja at the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border by securing additional accommodation capacities.
2. Maintain an effective protection regime through harmonization with good practices in EU; Since 2018, Montenegro has increasingly become part of the so called “Coastal Route” of the mixed migration movement to and through the Western Balkan region. In 2018, a total of 4,722 migrants transited through Montenegro. In the first half of 2019, 3,189 persons expressed their intention to apply for asylum in Montenegro and it can be estimated that 6,500 persons will have declared their intention to seek asylum in Montenegro by the end of 2019. In 2018, 3,104 persons submitted an asylum claim and until 17 July 2019, 1,051 persons applied for asylum. The increased mixed migration flow, made of migrants and persons in need of international protection, poses significant financial and logistical burdens on the asylum system. To maintain an effective protection regime, Montenegro pledges to: 1. Continuously strengthen data collection and its maintenance, with the aim to identify persons in need of international protection or special procedural guarantees. 2. Continue with implementation of accelerated and simplified asylum procedures, within the existing legislative framework.
3. Montenegro pledges to support regional efforts to reinforce asylum with relevant stakeholders; Since 2015, the Balkan region has been impacted by intense mixed movements transitioning from Turkey and Greece and oriented towards Western Europe. Enhanced border-control measures implemented by Member States of the European Union have also increased the number of persons choosing to apply for asylum in the countries of the region. The asylum systems of the countries of region are facing challenges in functioning effectively and in identifying those in need of international protection. Efforts and initiatives to develop harmonized regional approaches and solutions would be beneficial to both the countries of the region and, ultimately, to asylum seekers and refugees. Montenegro pledges to support regional efforts to reinforce asylum with relevant stakeholders. Montenegro stands ready to work with EU Member States, FRONTEX EASO, DCAF, UNHCR, and IOM and relevant authorities from the EU in Brussels and other countries. The cooperation could focus on four main areas, namely: (1) humanitarian border control, (2) reception and accommodation, (3) asylum procedure, and (4) durable solutions (voluntary return and integration). This approach will allow States of the region to take a stock of their achievements, challenges and possible solutions as well as identify areas where external support may be required to ensure an integrated yet protection sensitive management of these mixed movements.