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As its name implies, effective networking, particularly within the EMN, is essential for its successful operation. In order for the EMN to best meet its main objective, therefore, it is vital and key to success of the EMN that EMN NCPs, and their national partners, collaborate effectively in the exchange of information. It is also important to ensure appropriate connections with other stakeholders at national, European and international levels active in the area of migration and asylum.
Networking (at national and EU-level) provides inter alia the means by which details of the situation in other Member States can be obtained; as well as knowledge and information exchange and establishment of contacts – nationally, with other EMN NCPs, and their national network members; plus identification of topics of possible relevance. It also serves to increase the visibility of the EMN.
Networking occurs at three levels outlined below:
EMN NCPs co-operate with each other on a continuous basis and this is done in a number of ways, including:
Regular EMN meetings which the Commission, with the support of its Service Providers and EMN NCPs, organises at least six times per year. These consist of formal EMN NCP Meetings, to discuss progress and to plan upcoming activities, which are often combined with Training Sessions, for example on specific EMN activities (such as using the Information Exchange System, on setting up a national network) and Working Group meetings, like the Glossary and Thesaurus Working Group. Additionally, ad-hoc workshops can be organised, for example to discuss a specific EMN activity or study or to plan dissemination activities.
Cluster meetings between EMN NCPs on specific topics related to the implementation of the annual work programme, e.g. to discuss the preparation or outcomes of a particular study. Often these may involve national network members of the hosting EMN NCP in conjunction with an EMN NCPs national meeting.
"Twinnings" between experienced and less-experienced EMN NCPs in order to facilitate the latter's integration into the EMN. Activities include regularly organising Twinning meetings, with the overall aims to exchange information and best practice with their Twinning partners.
At national level, EMN NCPs develop national networks, involving a wide range of partners active in the area of migration and asylum and representing relevant stakeholders. These include partners from Ministerial departments, national statistical offices and regional / local authorities to research institutes, documentation centres and non-governmental organisations. In this way, it is possible to obtain impartial information from wide range of stakeholders, thereby providing a comprehensive, definitive and objective overview.
The national networks are of mutual benefit to the EMN NCPs and the network members. They enable close exchanges with national policymakers, so that the EMN can respond to upcoming information needs relevant to policymaking. National network members can contribute to the activities of the EMN, by inter alia providing specific inputs to EMN studies and reports and in collecting, inputting and accessing information in the Information Exchange System, The EMN NCPs, in turn, regularly inform their national network members about current EMN activities, and exchange information on EU level developments in the area of migration and asylum, as well as organise at least one national network meeting per year.
The EMN is required to ensure that its activities are consistent and co-ordinated with relevant Union instruments and structures. In this respect, currently the EMN has close links with the Commission’s Eurostat, in particular with regard to the analysis of migratory statistics, and Research Directorates, in order to be informed of developments in the research community, as well as with the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). The EMN will also ensure consistency and co-ordination with the European Asylum Support Office.
The EMN is also required to co-operate with other (non-EU) entities, such as other European or international organisations and/or entities in third countries. It is the role of the Steering Board to identify the most appropriate strategic co-operative relationships with such entities. In this respect, a working arrangement has been established for the formal participation of Norway in the EMN.
Priorities for relationships with other entities may be in respect of increasing the EMN's visibility by promoting the work of the EMN, in establishing contacts with a relevant entity(ies) in non-EU Schengen States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland) and with prospective EMN NCPs from countries which are in the final stages of accession to the EU.