Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the Internal Security Fund

In “Promoting our European Way of Life”

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The area of freedom, security and justice is a shared competence of the EU and its Member States. While responsibility for internal security mainly lies with the Member States, threats appear increasingly cross-border in nature. Over recent years, security threats have intensified and diversified in Europe, taking the form of terrorist attacks, new types of organised crime, as well as cybercrime. A coordinated EU response has become increasingly important to tackle security issues.

In April 2014, the European Parliament and the Council created the Internal Security Fund (ISF) for 2014-2020, divided in two components: one dealing with external borders and visa issues, while the other focusing on police cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and on crisis management.

  • The Borders and Visa component focused on promoting a uniform, high level of control and protection of EU external borders, as well as the effective processing of Schengen visas.
  • The Police component aimed at supporting national efforts to prevent crime and fight cross-border, serious and organised crime and terrorism, and at strengthening the capacity of the Member States and the EU for managing security-related risks and crises effectively, as well as protecting people and critical infrastructure against security-related incidents, including terrorist attacks.

On May 2018 the European Commission in its communication on A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends, proposed to multiply by a factor of 1.8 the Union funding to internal security, in order to ensure a high level of security in the Union and to reinforce the role of the decentralised agencies in this area. The proposed financial envelope for the ISF (replacing the existing ISF-Police component only) in the period 2021-2027 was EUR 2.5 billion (in current prices). The share for Member States’ programmes would be 60 % of the total envelope of the Fund, while the remaining 40 % should be managed through the thematic facility, which will periodically provide funding for a number of priorities defined in the Commission financing decisions.

The main objective of the ISF shall be to contribute to security in the Union, in particular by tackling terrorism and radicalisation, serious and organised crime and cybercrime and by assisting and protecting victims of crime. In particular, the ISF is expected to address situations resulting from newly emerging security threats or other situations that require immediate action which cannot be addressed by Member States acting alone. There are three specific objectives:

  1. to increase the exchange of information among and within the Union law enforcement and other competent authorities and other relevant Union bodies as well as with third countries and international organisations;

  2. to intensify cross-border joint operations among and within the Union law enforcement and other competent authorities in relation to serious and organised crime with a cross-border dimension;

  3. To support effort at strengthening the capabilities in relation to combating and preventing crime including terrorism in particular through increased cooperation between public authorities, civil society and private partners across the Member States.

On 12 November 2018 the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament released its draft report on the proposal for regulation, followed by the Committee on Budget's opinion, released on 22 November 2018. The latter opinion stressed the importance of crisis management including prevention, preparedness, resilience and consequence management, which needs to be added to the policy objectives of the new Fund as these are essential components for ensuring internal security. The main challenge is to ensure greater flexibility and efficiency of the Fund and to reduce the administrative burden to the minimum. The European Parliament adopted the text at first reading in March 2019 and in October 2019 decided to enter into interinstitutional negotiations.

On 10 December 2020, the Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the ISF. Co-legislators agreed that the Fund would contribute to preparing for and managing 'security incidents, risks and crises'. Decentralised agencies will be exceptionally eligible for funding when they assist in the implementation of EU actions falling within their competence and those actions are not covered by their annual budget. Funding for the purchase of equipment has been increased in the Member States' programmes to a maximum of 35%, while that for operating support has been raised to a maximum of 20%. However, the ISF shall not be used for purchasing coercive equipment (i.e. weapons, ammunition, explosives and riot sticks), except for training, nor should it finance military actions or those limited to maintaining public order at national level.

On 10 November, the European Parliament and German Presidency of the Council reached a political agreement on the 2021-2027 MFF and new own resources. On 17 December, the European Parliament gave its consent to the next multi-annual financial framework. The ISF will be allocated a budget of €1.705 billion in 2018 prices (€1.931 billion in current prices) for the 2021-2027 period.

On 1 March 2021, the LIBE Committee approved the text agreed during interinstitutional negotiations. The Council adopted its first reading position on 14 June 2021, opening the way for the adoption of the regulation by the European Parliament in second reading. On 29 June 2021, the LIBE Committee voted on the second reading recommendation.

On 6 July, the European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution approving the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of the regulation. The final act was signed the next day and it was published in the Official Journal on 15 July. The regulation entered into force the day of publication and applies from 1 January 2021.


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Author: Sofija Voronova, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/01/2023.