The research paper ‘Follow the Money: Assessing the use of AMIF funding at the national level’ by ECRE and UNHCR, provides a thorough and critical analysis of the €3.1 billion Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund (AMIF) established by the EC for the period of 2014-20. The AMIF aims to contribute to the efficient management of migration flows and to the implementation and development of a common European approach to asylum and migration.

“While there are examples of good practices in the research paper, it also reveals a number of general problems and challenges related to the actual design of the AMIF as well as its implementation,” says Annabelle Roig-Granjon, UNHCR Senior Official.

The distribution of funding through the AMIF National Programmes, accounting for 88 per cent or €2.75 billion of the AMIF budget is based on statistical information from 2011-12 and therefore not reflecting the current situation. Whilst the report identified some positive impact in the area of reception conditions and protection, the spending across priorities of integration, asylum and return is diverse across Member States and the emphasis on return in some countries disproportionate. There is a general incoherence and a lack of transparency, communication and information sharing on AMIF National Programmes at Member State level. Available public information (EC has yet to publish information) suggests slow overall implementation of AMIF National Programmes. Further, The Partnership Principle and the involvement of non-governmental partners as well as minimum levels of access to funding remain to be ensured.

A specific problem is that the funding rules developed by certain Member States for National Programmes are functioning as barriers to participation in the AMIF for civil society organizations.

This research paper aims to support the 2018 mid-term review of AMIF national programming, make recommendations for the better management and use of the funds during the remainder of the funding period, and to provide input to assist the European Commission, Member States and partners to develop European asylum, migration and integration funding instruments after 2020.“It is vital to use this research in a positive way, as a platform and basis for improvement as it offers a number of practical recommendations to that end,” says Annabelle Roig-Granjon.

Key recommendations from the research include:

  • Fair distribution keys, based on a broad assessment of the latest developments.
  • Standardization of National Programme needs assessments and inclusion of information from independent sources.
  • A minimum requirement on National Programmes of 30% funding for Integration and 20% for asylum actions.
  • Systematic EC monitoring of Member States meeting requirements of transparency, communication and information sharing.
  • The Partnership Principle should be a compulsory part of the National Programmes and the inclusion of international organisations, civil society, local authorities, migrant organisations and academic institutions should be systematic.

The research was drafted by Rachel Westerby, independent researcher and writer on migration, asylum and integration, with the support of ECRE and UNHCR on the basis of a desktop review of relevant documentation and publications related to AMIF as well as questionnaire circulated widely to UNHCR and civil society representatives and follow up discussions and consultations with EC staff.

 

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.

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