EU countries will have to allocate more funds to improve their asylum systems and the integration of migrants, under the new Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund for the next seven years passed by Parliament on Thursday. The text sets minimum amounts that each EU country will have to spend on these policies. MEPs also approved the new EU Internal Security Fund, designed to improve border surveillance and police cooperation.
The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) has a total budget of €3.1 billion for 2014-2020. At least 20% of the €2.4 billion that member states will get (3.1 billion minus 746 million for EU programmes and other actions) must be spent on measures to support legal migration and promote the integration of migrants.
Member states will also be obliged to allocate at least an additional 20% of the funds to asylum measures. EU countries will have to provide detailed explanations if they want to keep spending below these percentages and those facing "structural deficiencies in the area of accommodation, infrastructure and service" will not be able to spend less in the field of asylum.
MEPs succeeded in boosting solidarity between member states in the asylum field by making them eligible for AMIF funds to take refugees from other member states or non-EU countries. Member countries taking asylum seekers under the EU's resettlement programme will receive a lump sum of €6,000 for each resettled person, which can be increased to €10,000 for vulnerable persons or persons coming from priority areas (such as Syria or Ukraine).
However, MEPs do not consider this the end of the road. They are now set to exploit all available means provided by the Treaties, such as Article 80 of the Lisbon Treaty, to ensure that further solidarity measures are put in place in the future (see EP statement at link to the right).
Internal Security Fund
The Internal Security Fund (ISF) will support external border and visa management, with funding to the tune of €2.8 billion up to 2020. It will be used to build infrastructure needed at border crossing points and for border surveillance. It will also fund the IT systems required by the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), as well as actions to facilitate efficient management of migration flows, processing of visa applications and consular co-operation.
The instrument for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and fighting crime will provide funding of €1 billion for the next seven years and will be used chiefly for crime prevention, combating cross-border, serious and organised crime, including terrorism, and boosting cooperation between law-enforcement authorities at national and EU level.
Spot checks on spending
Surprise on-the-spot checks on spending will ensure that the money is used properly. The EU's contribution to national projects will generally be up to 75% of the total budget, and may be increased to 90% in certain cases, for example, when pressure on a member state's budget could put a specific project at risk.
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), first reading agreement