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Brussels, 15 November 2011

Frequently Asked Questions: The future financing of Home Affairs policies

What is the current budget?

The budget for Home Affairs represents 0.77% of the total EU budget (€6.5 billion between 2007 and 2013). The share of home affairs in the EU budget is relatively small but has been growing steadily in recent years, matching the Union's enhanced competences in this area.

For the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF),covering the 2014-2020 period, the Commission is proposing an overall budget of €10.7 billion. This represents an increase of almost 40% compared to the total budget for the 2007-2013 period. This figure covers not only spending on financial programmes but also funding for large-scale IT systems and for the EU agencies active in the home affairs area. This will represent less than 1% of the Union budget under the next MFF and constitutes a continuation of the spending level reached at the end of the 2007-2013 financial framework.

What will change in the funding?

Currently, the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals (€825 million for 2007-2013), the European Refugee Fund (€700 million), the External Borders Fund (€1 820 million) and the European Return Fund (€630 million) are the main financial instruments managed by DG Home Affairs (under the General Programme "Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows").

While the amount of funding available will increase in the future Multiannual Financial Framework, the number of financing instruments will be reduced from six to two: an Asylum and Migration Fund and an Internal Security Fund:

  • With an overall budget of approximately €3.9 billion, the Asylum and Migration Fund will focus on people flows and the integrated management of migration. It will support actions in relation to asylum, legal migration and the integration of third-country nationals, and return operations. Funding for these activities is currently covered by three separate Funds: the European Refugee Fund, the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals and the European Return Fund, respectively.

  • The Internal Security Fund will have a global budget of €4.6 billion. It will support the implementation of the Internal Security Strategy and a coherent and comprehensive approach to law enforcement cooperation, including the management of the EU's external borders. It will finance the activities currently supported by the Specific Programme on Prevention of and the fight against Crime and the Specific Programme on Prevention, Preparedness and consequence management of Terrorism and other Security-related risks, as well as those under the External Borders Fund.

What has improved?

Reducing the number of instruments to two will bring clear advantages to beneficiaries, Members States and the Commission. The main innovations are:

  • Easier funding of actions which are at present on the nexus between financial instruments. For example, now due to the narrow definition of the target groups which can benefit from assistance, support for the improvement of reception and detention centres is currently spread across the European Refugee Fund and the Return Fund, depending on the type of target group that will benefit from the improvements (asylum seekers or those awaiting return). Funding for these target groups will now be brought together under the umbrella of one single Fund, creating synergies and ultimately economies of scale.

  • A shared set of rules on programming, reporting, financial management, controls and evaluation will generate a better understanding of the rules by all stakeholders and will ensure a high degree of coherence and consistency.

  • Moving from the current system of annual programming to multiannual programming will reduce the administrative burden for the Commission, the Member States and the beneficiaries. At the same time, it will ensure that the Member States' national programmes are fully aligned with EU policy objectives and priorities and focus on achieving results and impacts. At the start of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission will initiate a single policy dialogue on home affairs funding with the individual Member States and, in the case of some parts of the Internal Security Fund, the Schengen associated states. Prior to the negotiations on their multiannual programmes, authorities of each participating State will be involved focusing on how it will use EU funding to achieve all EU home affairs policy objectives.

  • Recent events, be it the Arab Spring or the terrorist attacks in Norway, illustrate how important it is for the EU to be able to react quickly and effectively to rapidly evolving crisis situations. A flexible emergency response mechanism in the two funds will allow the EU to respond appropriately to mixed migratory flows and to crises in the area of internal security, such as terrorist attacks or cyber attacks. Procedures will ensure that funding can be released in a matter of days.

  • The EU will get the means to pursue and achieve home affairs policy priorities in its relations with third countries. Continuity of financing will help address the external aspects of migration management and internal security more coherently. Both Funds will therefore include an external dimension to support actions in and in relation to third countries, for example resettlement of refugees, implementation of readmission agreements, regional protection programmes, fight against trafficking of human beings, prevention of terrorism or reinforcement of external borders.

What do we finance?

The new funds are designed to optimise the delivery of funding. Support will remain available for all important policy areas of Home Affairs as under the current four main instruments:

Concrete examples of the use of EU funding:

  • EU Pilot Project on Intra-EU relocation from Malta (EUREMA): Under the European Refugee Fund (ERF) the Commission has financed two projects on the intra-EU relocation of refugees from Malta: one pilot project with the participation of France for an amount of € 770.000 and another, ongoing project known as "EUREMA" (European Relocation Malta) for an amount of nearly € 2 million. EUREMA is led by the Maltese authorities with the participation of ten Member States (France, Germany, UK, Portugal, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Romania) which pledged to relocate almost 260 refugees stranded in Malta to their territories. UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also participate in the project. The European funding covered the costs and made it possible for other Member States to receive these refugees, offer them a better future and to alleviate the particular migratory pressure that Malta frequently faces due to its geographical situation.

  • The European Web Site on Integration (EWSI) was launched in 2009 under the Integration Fund. It helps to create a European integration community of policy-makers and practitioners by offering good practices, pieces of news, links, events and other features related to the successful integration of third-country nationals residing legally in the EU. At the end of 2010, more than 1100 members had registered as users of the EWSI; more than 2800 documents, 440 good practices, 1350 news items, 2200 links and 600 events had been uploaded onto the website (

  • Measures co-financed by the Return Fund include, for example, the setting up of voluntary return and reintegration programmes. In the Netherlands, the “World Wide Foundation” set up a project enabling returnees to start a business in their country of origin by providing them with relevant training, helping them to put together the ‘toolkit’ necessary for their businesses to take back with them.

  • The External Borders Fund establishes financial solidarity by supporting those countries with a heavy financial burden to implement the common standards for control of the EU’s external borders. In the Czech Republic, for example, the Fund contributed to the purchase of a range of equipment for international airports, such as mobile devices for document checks, digital microphones and multifunctional devices for documenting falsified papers. This equipment significantly improved the Czech authorities’ capacity for fighting human trafficking and preventing irregular border-crossings.

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