Migration: Local authorities want more funds for integration, not just for border controls

Plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions

Building a common asylum and migration policy based on the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility continues to be one of the main challenges for the European Union. In the past years, the financial and technical support provided by the EU contributed to better manage migration flows across the continent and in particular to support the central activities by local and regional authorities to receive and integrate migrants.

In the context of the new "Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027", the European Commission proposed to significantly reinforce the overall Union budget for the management of migration and external borders.

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) members adopted by a large majority the opinion on the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) drafted by Peter Bossman, mayor of the municipality of Piran (PES/Slovenia). The CoR welcomes the overall increase in the funding for migration in the European Commission's proposal, but with this opinion local and regional authorities decided to send a strong signal concerning the allocation of the resources. "In my opinion, I warn about the imbalances between the money that is dedicated to border control and the much smaller funding for all other aspects of migration, including reception and integration. We need a comprehensive and coherent migration policy that improves the EU asylum system, supports integration and facilitates legal migration. This is what our communities need", stressed Peter Bossman.

Thanks to the work of the rapporteur, the CoR made a series of recommendations which reflect the positions of our political group, including:

  • demanding an increase of 2.4 times in the funding, increasing the overall fund from 10.4 to 16.2 billion euro for the period 2021-2027 in order to correct the imbalance between the significant increase in funding for border protection and related agencies (notably FRONTEX), and the much smaller increase in funding for other aspects of migration. Thus, significantly more resources would be available for activities in the areas of,asylum, legal migration, reception and integration,
  • ensuring that the relevant financial instruments are accessible to local and regional authorities which reflect their specific needs and focus in particular on vulnerable migrants, especially unaccompanied minors,
  • including funds for emergency assistance to local and regional authorities which experience sudden shifts in migratory patterns migratory pressure,
  • highlighting the need for coordination and synergies between the different EU funding instruments, including the need to increase funding for the European Social Fund+, which under the new proposal should support long-term integration measures. 

"It is important that there is an effective implementation of the partnership and multi-level governance principles in order to ensure that local and regional authorities, who play a key role in integrating migrants, are able to shape actions funded under the Asylum and Migration Fund. The local territories have spoken, will the other EU institutions listen to us?", concluded the rapporteur Bossman.

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