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EU budgets for the externalisation of migration control: Austrian Presidency seeks Member State views
16.10.18
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How do the Member States think EU budgets should be spent on the externalisation of migration control? That was the subject of a questionnaire issued to Member States' representatives in September 2018, in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the EU's budget for the 2021-27 period.

Despite the importance of this topic - which is seeing the EU form "partnerships" with repressive governments in Africa to try to limit the arrival of migrants in Europe (ARCI, link) - the Council will be doing very little to provide transparency on its discussions.

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Presidency questionnaire (12272/18, LIMITE, 19 September 2018, pdf)

The document begins with a general overview of the Commission's proposals for the EU's budgets for the 2021-27 period and highlights the massive proposed increases in spending on asylum, migration and security (from 9.3 billion, 2014-20, to 34.9 billion, 2021-27 - although further funds for external migration projects will also be available from a range of other budgets).

Member States are then asked to "reflect on the following questions":

"1) Coherence and complementarity

    • Do you agree that actions to stem irregular migration should be funded by external action instruments and by Home Affairs instruments?
    • How can complementarity and synergies between the different funds/ financial instruments be ensured?
    • Which actions dealing with the external dimension of migration could be financed by AMF, BMVI and ISF? (Please elaborate on each of the funds / instrument).

2) Implementation of the dedicated components

    • Should the dedicated components be integrated in the thematic facility? Or should they coexist alongside the programmes and the thematic facility?
    • Should the dedicated components be financed within the financial envelopes proposed for each fund /instrument?
    • What kind of entities should be eligible?
    • How can flexibility and a fast disbursement of funds in the event of crises or emergencies be ensured?"

The questionnaire was due to be discussed at a meeting of the Council's Ad-hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments on 1st October (link to pdf).

Following quesitons from Statewatch, the Council admitted that this working party is keeping no minutes of its proceedings, preventing the public from having any meaningful knowledge (and thus input) into the ongoing discussions.

See: Keeping the public in the dark: Council working parties will keep no minutes of meetings on next EU budget (Statewatch News Online, 13 August 2018)

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