The EU budget has a key role to play in supporting Member States in keeping Europeans safe, in particular when security threats know no borders and insidiously target our values and our way of life.
How will the future internal security budget change?
Over recent years, security threats have intensified and diversified. They are increasingly cross-border in nature meaning Member States can no longer act alone. While protecting citizens is a national competence, the European Union plays a vital role in supporting Member States' efforts. Security will remain a defining issue for the EU for years to come and Europe's citizens rightly expect their Union and national governments to deliver security in a fast-changing and uncertain world.
The future budget must match those political ambitions. The European Commission proposes to substantially increase the current security funding – from €3.5 billion to €4.8 billion – to build a Union resilient to future security challenges and ready to respond in emergencies. The overall budget for security in 2021-2027 will be comprised of the reinforced Internal Security Fund (€2.5 billion), safer decommissioning of nuclear activities in some Member States (€1.2 billion) and bolstered EU Agencies in the area of security (€1.1 billion).
Today's Regulation does not cover the funding for the Agencies: Europol, CEPOL and EMCDDA, for which the allocated budget of €1.1 billion is to be presented separately.
Why provide funding from the EU budget for security?
Over recent years, security threats have intensified and diversified in Europe. The common thread to recent terror attacks, new avenues of organised crime, and ever-growing incidents of cybercrime is their cross-border dimension. This demands a strong and coordinated response at the EU level. The security challenges the Union faces, such as international terrorism, cannot be managed by individual Member States alone.
The financial and technical support of the EU has already demonstrated its worth and will continue to do so in the next budgetary period. It has brought about concrete results and showed clear added-value when for example it supported the purchase of surveillance equipment following the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015, or the exemplary cooperation between French and Belgian authorities, through the Task Force Fraternité, set up by Europol.
How will the Internal Security Fund better support new and emerging challenges?
The reinforced Internal Security Fund (ISF) will be more flexible and equipped with tools to quickly respond to emerging security challenges. It will also be better coordinated with other EU funds, which touch upon security related issues.
Firstly, the future ISF will focus on three new objectives: (1) increasing the exchange of information; (2) intensifying cross-border joint operations; (3) and strengthening capabilities to combat and prevent crime. Those objectives will allow Member States more flexibility in delivering on key security priorities namely the fight against terrorism and radicalisation; serious and organised crime; cybercrime; and protection of victims of crimes.
Secondly, the future ISF will be based on a 60%-40% split. This means that €1.25 billion of the fund will be allocated to Member States upfront (with a later mid-term top up of €250 million), allowing them to make long-term security investments. The remaining 40%, i.e. €1 billion, will be reserved for the "thematic facility" and devoted to targeted support to Member States helping them to respond more effectively when faced with emergencies and unforeseen security challenges.
Finally, security is a cross-cutting issue touching upon multiple policy areas. While the future ISF is a dedicated financial instrument in the area of security, it will work more effectively with other EU funds such as the Asylum and Migration Fund and Integrated Border Management, which also include security components. This will help Member States to tackle security issues in a more comprehensive way building national preparedness at all levels and across sectors.
What is new about the Internal Security Fund?
The current Internal Security Fund (ISF) has been effective and has contributed to a high level of security in the Union. However, public consultations emphasised the need for simplification and greater flexibility in the delivery of home affairs funding instruments. In this context the future ISF will include:
- More flexibility and better emergency response: The new fund has been designed to ensure sufficient flexibility to channel emergency funding to Member States when needed and address new and critical priorities as they emerge. €1 billion of the Fund will be reserved for unforeseen security challenges, making the fund tailored to Member States' needs and ready to quickly respond to emergencies;
- Greater coordination across EU policies: Security is a cross-cutting issue and touches upon many policy areas. While the future ISF is a dedicated financial instrument in the area of security, it will work more effectively with other EU funds, such as the Asylum and Migration Fund and the Integrated Border Management Fund, which also include security components. This will help Member States to tackle security issues in a more comprehensive way building national preparedness at all levels and across sectors. In addition, the fund will include support work to reduce drug demand, for instance, through awareness raising campaigns. The measures for reducing drug demand are currently covered by the Justice Programme.
What actions will not be funded under Internal Security Fund?
There are measures which are the sole responsibility of Member States and the EU cannot support them with ISF funding. Those measures include:
- Measures limited to the maintenance of public order at national level;
- Measures covering the purchase or maintenance of standard equipment, standard means of transport or standard facilities of the law enforcement and other competent authorities;
- Measures with a military or defence purpose;
- Equipment of which at least one of the purposes is customs control;
- Coercive equipment, including weapons, ammunition, explosives and riot sticks, except for training purposes;
What happened to the two components: ISF-Borders & Visa and ISF-Police?
The Commission aims to guarantee better and more integrated management of the EU's external borders. This is why the current Borders and Visa instrument is being moved from the Internal Security Fund to the new Integrated Border Management Fund, which will itself also include a new instrument: the Customs Control Equipment Instrument. As regards the future Internal Security Fund, it structurally corresponds to the current Police Instrument of the Internal Security Fund.
How much is allocated to the different security priorities?
The future Internal Security Fund (ISF) does not propose specific allocations per priority nor objective. Security challenges are constantly evolving and Member States are best placed to identify their needs in order to meet the security priorities. Each Member State will have to ensure – and the Commission will confirm – that the priorities addressed in their national programmes are consistent with, and respond to the Union's priorities and challenges in the area of security
Under their national programmes Member States will be allocated 50% of the total budget of the fund upfront, amounting to €1.25 billion. A fixed top-up of 10 % amounting to €0.25 billion of the overall funding will be made at the mid-term. The remaining 40 % of the overall budget, amounting to €1 billion, will be periodically allocated to specific priorities in the Member States. This flexibility will allow Member States to use the available funding according to their actual needs and respond quickly to new security challenges and emergencies.
Each Member State will receive at the start of the programming period a one-time fixed amount of €5 million to ensure a critical mass, plus an amount that varies according to a distribution key weighted on the following criteria:
- 45% in inverse proportion to gross domestic product;
- 40% in proportion to the size of population; and
- 15% in proportion to the size of territory.
How will the Internal Security Fund be simplified and made more flexible?
The main simplification measures relate to the alignment of the fund with the Single Rule Book. For instance, the Commission aims to increase the use of simplified cost options such as lump-sums and streamlining horizontal rules for auditing and controls.
In terms of flexibility, the future ISF provides for more tailored and needs-based funding.
How will coherence with other funds be increased?
Security is a cross-cutting issue touching upon multiple policy areas. While the Internal Security Fund (ISF) will be the Union's dedicated instrument in the area of security, greater consistency and efficiency will be sought with other EU funds which include security components. Complementarities should be ensured in particular with:
- The Asylum and Migration Fund and the Integrated Border Management Fund, border surveillance measures, such as detection of smuggling of illegal goods, explosives, precursors, illegal migration and security screenings at the external borders are key to maintaining the EU's overall security;
- The Cohesion Policy Funds, Horizon Europe, the Digital Europe Programme, the Rights and Values Programme as well as Justice Programme all include a focus on security, such as investing in security research and providing adequate protection to crime victims;
- The European Social Fund+ also includes security elements, in the area of drugs policy, security of infrastructure and public spaces, cybersecurity and the prevention of radicalisation;
- InvestEU can also play a key role in increasing the security of investments in infrastructure throughout the Union and in the security of IT systems through addressing cybersecurity.
Further complementarities will be found with other measures outside the Union supported through the EU's external assistance instruments.
How will monitoring and evaluation be improved?
The Commission will directly monitor the implementation of the actions under direct and indirect management. In the case of shared management, each Member State will establish a management and control system for its programme and ensure the quality and the reliability of the monitoring system, of data and of indicators. In order to facilitate a swift start to the fund's implementation by 1 January 2021, it will be possible to ‘roll-over' existing, well-functioning management and control systems, to the next budget period.
The assessment of performance orientation is significantly improved for the next financial period. In addition to output and result indicators, a set of core performance indicators are also being proposed. Member States should send data for each programme – broken down by specific objectives – six times per year. These data should refer to the cost of operations and the values of common output and result indicators.
Member States will also be required to send an annual performance report, which should set out information on the progress made in implementing their national programmes and in achieving the milestones and targets. A review meeting between the Commission and each Member State will be organised every 2 years to examine the performance of each programme. At the end of the period, each Member State will submit a final performance report.
Why is the financial support for Europol being increased?
The role and relevance of all of the EU Agencies in the area of security, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (EUROPOL), the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), has evolved during the 2014-2020 financing period. Europol has become particularly relevant in supplying Member States with intelligence, coordinating different strands of the fight against organised crime and terrorism, and cracking down on illegal terrorist content online. This was enabled by new structures created within Europol, such as:
- The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), which for example, worked closely with cybercrime units in the countries affected by the WannaCry ransomware attack, and provided operational support and helped coordinate international efforts to mitigate the threat and help the victims;
- The European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC), which helps to ensure an effective and coordinated response to the challenge of international terrorism such as the one posed by Da'esh. It does so by providing operational support upon request and tackles the threat of returning foreign terrorist fighters, or by enabling the sharing of intelligence on terrorism financing;
- The European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC), helped support Member States' investigations after it became clear that the numbers of irregular migrants that arrived in 2016 were, in part, being organised by criminal migrant smuggling networks busy turning a profit on human misery.
Europol also played an invaluable role in the Task Force Fraternité in the days and weeks following the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015.
However, the increased financial support for Europol will not come from the Internal Security Fund (ISF) directly. The EU Agencies working in the area of security benefit from a separate budget allotment, to be presented separately.
Will other specialised EU agencies in the field of security receive increased financial support?
While Europol has indeed a key role to play, other agencies such as CEPOL and EMCDDA are just as important for ensuring other aspects of the Union's security.
CEPOL ensures that Member States' law enforcement authorities have the training they need to carry out their duties and the EMCDDA is key in tackling the societal challenges such as drug trafficking and drug addiction represent.
In addition to the €2.5 billion under the Internal Security Fund, and to be presented separately, the overall budget for the Agencies under the security cluster will be increased up to €1.1 billion, representing a 29% increase compared to 2014-2020 financial period.
Why is there funding for nuclear decommissioning?
The EU's nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes (NDAP) aim to assist Member States in the process of winding and shutting down those nuclear installations in the final step in their lifecycles, while keeping the highest level of safety. This helps provide substantial and durable support for the health of workers and the general public, preventing environmental degradation and providing for real progress in nuclear safety and security.
For 2021-2027, the Union will continue to provide strictly targeted financial support:
- €552 million is allocated to Lithuania to support the decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant;
- €118 million is allocated to Bulgaria and Slovakia. In the case of Bulgaria, the aim is to decommission units 1 to 4 of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant. For Slovakia, it is the Bohunice V1 nuclear power plant;
- €348 million is allocated for the decommissioning and radioactive waste management of the Commission's nuclear research facilities operated and/or owned by the JRC.
- €160 million is allocated to general nuclear safety and safeguards
For More Information
Internal Security Fund
- Factsheet - EU Budget for the Future: Internal Security Fund
- Proposal for a Regulation establishing the Internal Security Fund
- Annexes to the Regulation establishing the Internal Security Fund
- Factsheet - EU Budget for the Future: Nuclear Safety and Decommissioning
- Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing the nuclear decommissioning assistance programme of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania
- Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a dedicated financial programme for decommissioning of nuclear facilities and management of radioactive waste, and repealing Council Regulation (Euratom)
- Report on the evaluation and implementation of the EU nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania
Union Civil Protection Mechanism (rescEU)
- Factsheet - EU Budget for the Future: rescEU, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism
More information on the EU budget for the future