S&Ds secure 50% increase in EU funding to integrate migrants and refugees
The new Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), which will run from 2014 for a seven-year period, will have a total budget of €3,137 million, compared to the €2,115 million available under the three previous funds together.
At the insistence of the European Socialists and Democrats, EU countries will also have to ensure resources are distributed fairly between the different fields of activities involved and they must therefore use at least 20% of the allocations they receive from the fund for asylum and at least 20% for integration.
Following the vote, S&D vice-president Sylvie Guillaume, who has led the Parliament's negotiations with EU governments over the past year, said:
"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.
"In the tense situation following recent tragedies where migrants have perished in the Mediterranean and where living conditions for asylum seekers in the EU are sometimes unacceptable, S&D Euro MPs have succeeded in creating a fund that will allow the EU and its member states to adopt a global and innovative approach to migration. This is a real departure from the highly fragmented policy priorities preferred by the Council, Commission and the right-wing majority in the Parliament up to now. It is in that spirit that we, the S&D Group, intend to shape progressive EU immigration and asylum policies in the future based on prevention, protection and integration, as set out in our latest policy paper.
"While the fund theoretically has the potential to promote progressive and global responses to migration issues, at the end of the day its success will depend on how member states make use of the opportunities it offers in practice. In this context, the Parliament holds a strong hand in monitoring the activities promoted and funded at national level. Again, while much has been achieved today, the work is not yet complete and we should now all focus on ensuring it is implemented correctly and ambitiously."