EU Commission announces major border funding increase

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship
Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

According to a 12 June media release, the European Commission proposes to almost triple funding for migration and border management to €34.9 billion over the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, compared to €13 billion in the previous period.

10,000 new guards

The proposal is a response to increased migratory, mobility and security challenges, with more flexible funding instruments to address unforeseen migratory events and border protection. A new separate fund for integrated border management will be created and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be further strengthened with a new standing corps of around 10,000 border guards. The new border fund will also finance customs control equipment.

“Based on past experience and the knowledge that migration will remain a challenge in the future, we are proposing an unprecedented increase in funding,” said First Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

“Strengthening our common EU borders, in particular with our European Border and Coast Guard, will continue to be a big priority. Increased flexibility of our funding instruments means we are ready to support Member States quickly; where they need it, when they need it – particularly in the event of crisis.”

According to Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, better management of external borders and migration will remain key priorities for the EU, member states and citizens in the years to come.

“Bigger challenges need bigger resources – this is why we propose to almost triple the budget in this area,” he said. “The reinforced funding will be pivotal in ensuring that we can implement these political priorities: further secure our external borders, continue to grant protection to those who need it, better support legal migration and integration efforts, counter irregular migration, and effectively and swiftly return those who have no right to stay.”

During the refugee crisis of 2015-16, the financial and technical support that the EU provided to member states was essential in supporting member states under pressure, developing search and rescue capacities, stepping up returns and better managing external borders.

Border management billions

The Commission proposes to allocate €21.3 billion to border management overall and create a new Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF) worth more than €9.3 billion. The key features of the new fund are:

– A new set of priorities, which includes:

  • Strengthening Europe’s external borders: The new fund will continue and build on past work with the roll-out of the European Border and Coast Guard, systematic checks at the borders, new large-scale and interoperable IT systems, including a future Entry/Exit system. Funding will be channelled towards tackling migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings as well as intercepting and stopping those who pose a threat, support for search and rescue at sea, equipment and training for border guards, and swift operational support for Member States under pressure;
  • Stronger and more efficient visa policy: The fund will also ensure the EU’s visa policy continues to evolve, whilst strengthening security and mitigating irregular migration risks;

– Support to Member States: ]€4.8 billion for long-term funding to support Member States’ border management measures and visa policy. The funding will reflect Member States’ needs and a review at mid-term will take account of new or additional pressures. Each Member State will receive a fixed sum of €5 million with the remainder distributed based on the workload, pressure and threat level at external land borders (30 percent), external sea borders (35 percent), airports (20 percent) and consular offices (15 percent);

– A flexible and fast response: €3.2 billion for targeted support to Member States, EU-level projects and to address urgent needs. The new fund has been designed to ensure sufficient flexibility to channel emergency funding to Member States when needed and address new and critical priorities as they emerge;

– Better customs control equipment on external borders: €1.3 billion for helping Member States purchase, maintain and replace state-of-the-art customs equipment such as new scanners, automated number plate detection systems, teams of sniffer dogs and mobile laboratories for sample analysis;

– Reinforcing EU border management agencies: Outside of the fund, more than €12 billion will be dedicated to further strengthening the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and EU-LISA

Fairer outcomes

The Commission is proposing to increase funding for migration by 51 percent to €10.4 billion under the renewed Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF). The Fund will support Member States’ efforts in three key areas: asylum, legal migration and integration, and countering irregular migration and returns. The key features of the new fund are:

– New priorities: The new fund will continue its support to national asylum systems and will place a renewed focus on channelling EU funding to the most pressing issues, such as:

  • A stronger and more efficient European asylum system: The fund will help strengthen and develop the Common European Asylum System, including its external dimension;
  • Support for legal migration and integration: The fund will devote additional resources to support the early integration of non-EU nationals staying lawfully in the EU in the short-term. It will be complemented by funding under the Cohesion funds for longer-term socio-economic integration;
  • Faster and more frequent returns: The fund will support a more coordinated approach to countering irregular migration, improve the effectiveness of returns and further intensify cooperation with non-EU countries on readmission;

– Support for Member States: €6.3 billion in long-term funding to support Member States in managing migration. A review at mid-term will take account of new or additional pressures. Member States will receive a fixed sum of €5 million with the remainder distributed based on an assessment of the pressures faced and taking into account proportions in the areas of asylum (30 percent), legal migration and integration (30 percent) and countering irregular migration and return (40 percent);

– Better preparedness: €4.2 billion for targeted support to Member States, projects with a real European added value such as resettlement, or for responding to urgent needs and channelling emergency funding to Member States as they need it;

– Greater coordination across EU funding instruments: The asylum and migration fund will be complemented by the additional funds dedicated under the EU’s external policy instruments to stepping up cooperation on migration with partner countries, including efforts to tackle irregular migration, improve opportunities in countries of origin, enhance cooperation on return and readmission and legal migration;

– Reinforcing EU agencies: Outside of this fund, almost €900 million will be dedicated to further strengthening the new European Union Agency for Asylum.

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