Migration and border management: Heading 4 of the 2021-2027 MFF

Briefing 23-01-2020

The Treaty of Lisbon makes explicit reference to pooling financial resources to support common policies on asylum, immigration and external borders. While expenditure for these policy areas still represents a minor share of the EU budget, it has recently increased in the wake of the 2015-2016 refugee crisis. Since the resources available under the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the EU proved insufficient to address the crisis, EU institutions had to use the flexibility provisions of the MFF extensively. Given the increasing salience of the policy areas, the European Commission has proposed the establishment of a specific heading devoted to migration and border management worth €30.8 billion (2018 prices) in the 2021-2027 MFF. As compared with the current period, these allocations would represent a significant increase in relative terms, especially as regards border management. The heading would finance two funding instruments, the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) and the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF), as well as the activities of relevant EU decentralised agencies, such as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Asylum Support Office. By designing these new funds, the European Commission seeks to improve synergies with other EU funding instruments and increase capacity to react to evolving needs. Negotiations for the MFF package are very complex, involving different legislative procedures for the adoption of the overall MFF and the sector-specific instruments. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Council are working on the proposals, which have also triggered reactions from other stakeholders, including academics, think-tanks and commentators.