14 March 2014

The European Parliament yesterday approved the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) for 2014-2020, which replaces the European Refugee Fund, the European Integration Fund and the European Return Fund. The fund will support actions addressing all aspects of migration, including asylum, legal migration, integration and return.

The AMIF has a total budget of €3.1 billion for 2014-2020 (in comparison, the combined budget of the three funds it replaces is €2.1 billion for the previous period 2007-2013). The bulk of the funds, €2.7 billion, is destined for national level programmes, €360 million of which is reserved for resettlement and relocation (instead of €700 million foreseen initially in the Commission proposal). A budget of €385 million is foreseen for pan-European actions (Union Actions) and emergency actions. 

At least 20% of the money Member States will receive must be spent on asylum measures. If Member States wish to stay below this percentage, they will have to provide detailed explanations. Countries facing “structural deficiencies in the area of accommodation, infrastructure and service” will not be able to spend less than 20% in the field of asylum. Member States will also be obliged to allocate at least 20% of the funds to measures that support regular migration and promote the integration of migrants.

The AMIF will now foresee the mandatory participation of NGOs and International Organisations in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of national funding programmes. Also, the fund will be better equipped to address emergency situations. Finally, the AMIF will allow the financing of actions outside of the EU under some conditions. 

“A major step forward was taken today. Despite budget cuts, the European Parliament has prevailed over the member states’ reluctance to adopt better conditions for migrants and to allocate more funding to improve their asylum systems and the integration of migrants,” stated MEP Sylvie Guillaume, author of the report adopted.

The AMIF needs now to be implemented in each Member State, and could be operational as of May 2014, according to the European Commission.

MEPs have also approved the Internal Security Fund (ISF), which will support external border and visa management. This fund will be used to build infrastructure needed at border crossing points, for border surveillance and for the IT systems required by EUROSUR.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 14 March 2014
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ECRE, Comments and Recommendations on the Commission Proposals on the future EU funding in the area of migration and asylum, August 2012

UNHCR, Comments to the proposals for funding in the area of Home Affairs 2014-2020, August 2012

Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Permanent Representatives Committee approves agreement on EU funding of asylum and migration policies, December 2013.