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Future EU security budgets: working documents shed light on Member State concerns and priorities
13.12.18
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From 2021 onwards, the EU will have a number of multi-billion euro budgets for internal security, border security and asylum and migration policy at its disposal. These budgets will likely be larger than any previous funds in these areas, but there has been little transparency over the discussions on the proposals in the Council. The documents provided here, obtained by Statewatch through an access to documents request to the Council, shed some light on different Member States' priorities.

For example, in an October document listing Member States' comments on the Integrated Border Management Fund, Greece lobbied to ensure that a greater proportion of EU funding was available for national spending under a number of different headings.

A document on the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMIF) highlights Member States' concerns and questions over the proposal for the AMIF to fund early "integration" measures for refugees and migrants, and for other EU budgets to cover longer-term measures. Germany argued, for example, that "differentiation according to thematic priorities instead of timing (short-term or long-term) seems more adequate."

Regarding the Internal Security Fund, comments show Member States' concern for having counter-terrorism included in the objectives of the budget, as well as demands for clarification over the term "emergency situation" - according to the proposals, in such a situation various derogations from the normal financial rules would be permitted.

The secrecy with which the Council is conducting its negotiations on these proposals is a massive hindrance to public knowledge and engagement. The publication of documents such as these at least sheds some light on the different issues under discussions and the topics raised by different Member States. Their publication in full - with no censorsing - is to be welcomed, although it may be observed that their publication in this form means the Council may be over and done with discussing the topics in question.

Working documents

The documents below are all working documents discussed in the Council's Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments, which was established to discuss the budget proposals for 2021-27. It keeps no minutes of its meetings, although topics and documents that are up for discussion are listed in the group's agendas, which are available via the Council register of documents.

Working documents themselves are not listed in the Council's register, meaning that interested individuals have to trawl through the agendas of working parties to discover their existence in the first place - assuming they are even listed in those agendas.

A recent recommendation from the European Ombudsman noted that the way working documents are currently dealt with by the Council "hinders citizens from easily finding out, in good time, that such documents exist," and that it is "cumbersome for the general public to access information on negotiations in preparatory bodies."

The documents published by the Council are summarised below.

Asylum and Migration Fund (AMIF)

From: Presidency to: Delegations: Non-paper on AMIF post 2020 - Drafted by likeminded Member States and presented by Finland (WK 8891/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 17 July 2018, pdf):

"In view of the upcoming Austrian Council Presidency and the start of negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), representatives of responsible authorities for AMIF in different Member States met for an informal working group in April 2018 and drafted this Non-Paper to highlight some important points that should be taken into account when drafting the AMIF post 2020. As the proposal of the European Commission for the new Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) has been published on June 12th, this Non-Paper compares its content with the results of the above mentioned informal working group."

From: Presidency to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Compilation of replies from Member States on the questionnaire on the Asylum and Migration Fund (WK 10097/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 7 September 2018, pdf) and REV 1 (11 September 2018), REV 2 (11 September 2018) and REV 3 (17 October 2018):

"With reference to the Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial instruments meeting on 20 July 2018, delegations will find a compilation of replies from Member States on the questionnaire on the Asylum and Migration Fund."

Responses from: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.

From: Commission Services to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Fiche No. 5 - Follow-up to Questions raised by Member States on the Asylum and Migration Fund in the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (WK 12390/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 17 October 2018, pdf):

"This document presents the answers to written questions submitted until 13 September 2018 by Member States in response to the questionnaire sent by the Presidency in July 2018, in the context of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the JHA Financial Instruments.

For the purpose of this overview, the submitted questions have been shortened and summarised by the Presidency wherever relevant in order to keep the length of this fiche reasonable. Answers have for the same reason been kept concise.

This document summarises or complements information already or yet to be provided in the context of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the JHA Financial Instruments, without prevailing over such information."

From: Presidency to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Summary of replies concerning “integration” (WK 12415/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 17 October 2018, pdf):

"In view of the meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial instruments (AMF) on 23-24 October 2018, delegations will find attached the summary of replies concerning "integration"."

Internal Security Fund

From: Presidency to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Compilation of comments from Member States on the Internal Security Fund (WK 10098/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 7 September 2018, pdf) and REV 1 (12 September 2018):

"With reference to the Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial instruments meeting on 23 July 2018, delegations will find a compilation of comments from Member States on the Internal Security Fund."

Responses from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia.

From: Commission Services to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Fiche 2 - Standard equipment, standard means of transport and standard facilities in the Internal Security Fund in the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (WK 10797/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 19 September 2018, pdf):

"...the purchase or maintenance of standard equipment, standard means of transport or standard facilities of the lawenforcement and other competent authorities does not fall within the scope of this Fund.

It is, therefore, important to explain the notion of standard equipment, means of transport and facilities as presented in the proposal for the Internal Security Fund for the next Multiannual Financial Framework."

From: Presidency to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Compilation of comments from Member States on the Internal Security Fund (WK 11755/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 8 October 2018, pdf):

"With reference to the Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial instruments meeting on 15 October 2018, delegations will find a compilation of comments from Member States on the Internal Security Fund."

Comments from Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia.

Border management and visa

From: Presidency to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Compilation of comments from Member States on the Borders Management and visa instruments (WK 12110/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 18 October 2018, pdf):

"Following the Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial instruments meeting on 17 September 2018, delegations will find a compilation of comments from Member States on the Borders Management and visa instruments."

Comments from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland. Includes detailed proposed amendments from many delegations.

General

From: Commission Services to: Ad Hoc Working Party on JHA Financial Instruments: Fiche 1 - The 'Thematic Facility' in the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Border Management and Visa Instrument under the Integrated Border Management Fund and the Internal Security Fund in the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (WK 10798/2018 INIT, LIMITE, 19 September 2018, pdf):

"To respond to migration and security challenges as they occur and to maximise the use of shared management to provide targeted support in real-time, the proposals for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Border Management and Visa Instrument and the Internal Security Fund contain provisions on setting up 'Thematic Facilities' for each of the funding instruments. This fiche aims to present the principle behind the concept of the Thematic Facility, as well as the modalities for its use."

Further reading

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

Massive funding increases proposed for internal security, border security and migration: full documentation (13 June 2018)

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