Saturday

18th Nov 2017

EU to spend €2.4bn on migrant schemes

  • The Hungarian-Serbian border recently became a new front line (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

The European Commission will give €2.4 billion to member states for border control and reception of asylum seekers, it announced Monday (10 August).

The money will be disbursed from 2014-2020 to 19 countries through 23 national programmes which the commission approved in recent weeks.


Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Italy and Greece, two countries receiving the most migrants from Africa and the Middle-East, will get €558 million and €474 million, respectively.

Other important receivers are Spain with €521 million, and Sweden with €154 million.

The budget announced by the commission is not new money. It is part of the €7 billion budget earmarked for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) for the 2014-2020 period.

These funds are designed to help member states in managing their borders, handling asylum applications, and enforcing returns, as well as fighting trans-border crime.

Timely moment

"Twenty two national programmes were already approved in March, and an additional 13 programmes will be approved later this year," said the commission in a statement.

The programmes "are prepared and implemented by the member states themselves," a spokeswoman, Natasha Bertaud, said at a press briefing Monday.


The announcement comes at a timely moment to show the EU is active on the migrant issue.

"The question is approaching the issue with eyes wide open, and we continue to work very closely with the member states to address this challenge as best as we can," Bertaud added.

Migrant incidents are reported daily off the Italian coast, on Greek islands, in Calais (France) and at the Hungarian-Serbian border, while the commission has been at loggerheads with member states over the management of the unprecedented arrivals.

According to the UN refugee agency, 224,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year, including 124,000 to Greece - a 750 percent increase compared to last year.

Over 2,000 more died while trying to cross the sea, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The commission presented in March an Agenda on migration but one of its main objectives, the mandatory relocation of 40,000 asylum seekers between EU countries, was rejected by member states.

EU countries accepted only to relocate 32,000 asylum seekers on a voluntary basis.

The scheme, as well as the resettlement of 20,000 Syrian refugees, "will be implemented through the AMIF national programmes," the commission said in its statement.

Courage

In an unusual comment, the Commission said on 6 August that what the EU "need[s] now is the collective courage to follow through with concrete action on words that will otherwise ring empty".

"It is easy to cry in front of your TV set when witnessing these tragedies. It is harder to stand up and take responsibility", the EU executive said in a statement issued by commissioners Frans Timmermans, Federica Mogherini, and Dimitris Avramopoulos.

It emerged last week that immigration has become Europeans' main concern, ahead of the economic and social situation.

UK and Germany talk tough on migrants

The British and German governments have called for a new crackdown on migrants, in statements denounced as populist rhetoric by left-wing politicians.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse