Days after the College of Commissioners presented a set of priority actions to be taken within the next six months to manage the refugee crisis, the European Commission has today made a first set of concrete proposals for €1.7 billion of EU funding in 2015 and 2016 in order to address the refugee crisis – money EU Heads of State and Government committed to matching last week. The money will provide emergency assistance to the most affected EU Member States, increase staffing at front line EU agencies, and provide assistance and humanitarian aid in third countries. The Commission is now counting on the budgetary authority – the Parliament and Council – to fast track the adoption of these measures, as they committed to doing last week.
Today's proposals involve €801.3 million for 2015, and will be funded in part from new funding in the form of a proposed draft amending budget for 2015. In this regard, the Commission is proposing additional commitments of €330.7 million from Member States. Second, the Commission is proposing that funds are relocated from other areas. For this, the Commission foresees €70.6 million from other programmes and actions and €400 million originally foreseen for humanitarian aid and funding for European neighbourhood policies.
The second set of proposals for the remaining €900 million for 2016 announced last week will be included in an amendment to the draft budget 2016 in October 2015.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The European Commission has been consistently and continuously working for a coordinated European response on the refugees and migration front. We have achieved a great deal in a short space of time. And we will continue to work flat-out to bring common, European solutions."
Budget and Human Resources Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva said: "Europe is facing the consequences of one of the biggest crises in its recent history. We have acted quickly to align our resources with priorities, doubling the EU funds available to help refugees and the communities receiving them. We are using the EU budget in a swift and flexible way to address this crisis."
Last week, the European Commission committed to reinforcing its financial support for the crisis. In a first step, for the remainder of 2015, the Commission is mobilising €801.3 million to support the following priority actions:
- €100 million to reinforce the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) for emergency assistance to the most affected EU Member States. This is in addition to the €73 million already exhausted;
- €1.3 million to increase the funding for the three relevant EU agencies to cover 60 staff for FRONTEX, 30 for the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and 30 for Europol for 2015;
- €300 million to reinforce the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) to allow an increase of the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis and provide assistance to third countries hosting refugees from Syria. Together with the further €200 million being redeployed, the total funding for the Trust Fund for Syria will reach more than €500 million. Member State contributions should match the EU funding: so that the Fund would reach a total of at least €1 billion.
- €200 million to provide immediate resources to respond to the needs of the UNHCR and the World Food Programme and other relevant organisations in order to help refugees immediately. This money has already been planned for humanitarian aid and civil protection and will now be used specifically to address the refugee crisis. Member State contributions should match the EU funding.
The Commission also announced the possible reallocation of up to €1 billion in the funding for Turkey and an additional €17 million for Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to help our neighbours tackle the migration challenge.
The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa with an initial capital contribution from EU financial means of €1.8 billion also needs to be matched by Member State contributions.
This is in addition to the large sums (over €300 million) being released in 2015 as pre-financing under the multi-annual funds for migration and borders (of a total of around €7 billion set aside for 2014-2020).
The proposal respects the agreement on the EU' seven year financial plan. The €801.3 million do not require additional payments on behalf of the Member States in 2015.
At the informal meeting of EU Heads of State or Government of 23 September 2015, Member States welcomed the Commission proposals on the mobilisation to the EU budget and committed to match them with their own contributions.
In addition, in October this year the Commission will propose additional €900 million to add to the Draft Budget for 2016, to support the following priority actions in 2016:
- €600 million for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, as well as for increased staffing of FRONTEX, EASO and EUROPOL. This would be on top of the €780 million planned for the emergency relocation scheme;
- €300 million to provide humanitarian aid to refugees hosted in countries neighbouring Syria and other third countries. Member State contributions should match the EU funding.
On 23 April 2014, in Malta, Jean-Claude Juncker presented a five point plan on immigration, calling for more solidarity in the EU's migration policy as part of his campaign to become European Commission President.
Upon taking office, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker entrusted a Commissioner with special responsibility for Migration to work on a new policy on migration as one of the 10 priorities of the Political Guidelines, the political programme based on which the European Parliament elected the Commission.
On 13 May 2015, the European Commission presented its European Agenda on Migration, setting out a comprehensive approach for improving the management of migration in all its aspects.
On 27 May 2015, the European Commission already came forward with a first package of implementing measures of the European Agenda on Migration, including relocation and resettlement proposals, and an EU Action plan against migrant smugglers.
On 25-26 June 2015, the European Council agreed to move forward on the proposals made by the European Commission in the European Agenda on Migration, focusing on relocation and resettlement, returns and cooperation with countries of origin and transit.
On 20 July 2015, the Justice and Home Affairs Council agreed to implement the measures as proposed in the European Agenda on Migration, notably to relocate people in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece over the next two years, starting with 32,256 in a first step, and to resettle 22,504 displaced persons in clear need of international protection from outside the EU.
On 9 September 2015, the Commission proposed a new set of measures, including an emergency relocation mechanism for 120,000 refugees, as well as concrete tools to assist Member States in processing applications, returning economic migrants, and tackling the root causes of the refugee crisis.
On 14 September 2015, Member States adopted the Decision to relocate 40,000 refugees in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece.
On 23 September 2015, Member States adopted the Decision to relocate 120,000 refugees in clear need of international protection from Italy, Greece and other Member States directly affected by the refugee crisis.
For more information
MEMO/15/5730: Questions and Answers: additional funding to address the refugee crisis
European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: Operational and budgetary measures under the European Agenda on Migration
The European Agenda on Migration: Legislative Documents, Factsheets and Press Materials