the main objective of the opinion is to advocate for LRAs acces to funds from the Asylum and Migration Funds, in particular for reception and integration of migrants that is done at the local level.
The EP approved its positionon the pleanry session on 12 March ( first reading). The overall assessment is positive. If the EP position is backed by the Council, the new fund will facilitate access to EU funding for LRAs on the integration of migrants, the main COR call in this policy field.
COR views are in general convergent with those of the EP. Both institutions clearly defend a prominent role of LRAs in the design and the implementation of the programs under the AMIF and in particular in the field of integration of migrants. In addition, there is also a clear stand to facilitate access to funding for LRAs. There is also a share view to reinforce solidarity as an objective of this fund and ensuring responsibility sharing between Members States. Finally there is also convergence in the call for more flexibility in the use of emergency financing during border crises.
The main COR recommendations have been retained in the EP report:
-to reinforce partnership principle : the EP report recognises the role played by local governments and their representative associations. EP reports backs the COR's call to give the LRAs the right to be consulted by Members states when designing and preparing their national programs under the AMIF
to earmark funds for LRAs. At least € 220 million - or € 30 million per year –will be allocated to local governments following the situation on the ground. This is not the case on the current AMIF.
-to guarantee direct access to emergency assistance for LRAs.
-Higher co-financing rate for activities implemented by local and regional governments.
Two COR recomendations have not been retained:
-increase in teh budget: COR had proposed to increase the budget of the fund from 10 415 000 000 to 16 188 000 000. This increase would mirror the 2.4-fold increase in funding allocated to the control of external borders and would reflects the fact that in the current proposals no increase in funding appropriations is foreseen under the ESF+ for new task of long-term integration
-Criteria for allocation of funding to the national programmes:The COR proposed a balanced weight of the criteria to distribute the funds to Members States (33.3% for asylum, 33.3% for legal migration and integration and 33.3% for countering irregular migration including returns). The EP has not proposed changes to the EC proposal ( 30% for asylum , 30% legal migration, and 40% for irregular migration and returns
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- reiterates the need for a coordinated approach by the EU and the Member States to build a common asylum and migration policy based on the principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility
- welcomes the increases in funding for, migration in the EU budget, but is concerned by the bias in these increases which are far more significant for measures on border protection, than for the AMF. Consequently suggests to increase the overall envelope for the AMF from the EUR 10 415 000 000 currently proposed by the European Commission to EUR 16 188 000 000 ( a 2.4-fold increase)
- believes that partnerships and cooperation with third countries are an essential component of EU migration policy and tackling its root causes and that the Fund should therefore provide financial incentives for such cooperation. External development funding should not, however, be instrumentalised solely to prevent migration
- notes the new approach of distinguishing between short-term and long-term integration measures, the latter being financed now from the ESF+. Stresses that the financial provisions for the ESF+ must fully reflect this new task
- welcomes the fact that the new Fund allows a higher co-financing rate (up to 90%), but regrets that its repeated calls to make LRAs partially responsible for the management of the AMF have not been answered
- suggests to give equal weight to the three distribution keys proposed by the European Commission: asylum (33.3%), legal migration and integration (33.3%), and countering irregular migration including returns (33.3%)
- calls for the introduction of minimum allocation and spending requirements for integration (20%) and asylum (20%)
- believes that decentralised cooperation can play an important role in strengthening good governance in origin and transit countries and so reduce migration flows