EU releases new funding to address immigration

Little Syrian refugee on the Greek island. Credits: Reuters

Little Syrian refugee on the Greek island. Credits: Reuters

10 Aug. — The European Commission announced that it would allocate an additional sum of nearly €2.4bn to member states for addressing the immigration issues. The funds, which will go to the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), are calculated through 2020. This year the European Commission plans to approve 58 national programmes for both funds. However, as a recent large-scale public opinion survey showed, the immigration problem is of an infrastructural and systemic character which cannot be solved by funnelling more money.

The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund would put money into practical tasks: accepting, processing, resettling and deporting immigrants. The Internal Security Fund (ISF) aims to strengthen border control and implementing new surveillance systems.

In spring the European Commission approved 22 national financing programmes through these funds for a total of €1.8bn. In summer another 23 were accepted. The remaining 13 programmes are expected to be approved this fall.
However, the additional funds will hardly help to solve the overall problem or alleviate the apprehension of the population. On 6 August, the British social research company Ipsos MORI published the results of a 24-country (including 9 EU members) public opinion survey on immigration. Based on the research, Europeans feel the problem is much greater and more complex than it seems from just looking at the national programmes. According to them, a significant growth in the number of immigrants is observable over recent years; 83.2% of respondents shared this opinion (the average for the nine countries). Moreover, the majority (54%) see their impact on the country as either mostly or fully negative. This is with regard to the economy, labour market, social security systems, image, etc.

Data published in late July by Eurobarometer show similar results. Immigration became the main problem for EU countries (38%), ahead of the economy (27%) and unemployment (23%). In addition, the majority (56%) thought negatively of people coming from non-EU countries.

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