EU: External migration projects: Council to approve auditors' recommendations

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In March 2016 the European Court of Auditors (ECA) published a report examining EU spending on migration-related projects in Algeria, Georgia, Libya, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine between 2007 and 2013. The report found that the total amount spent by the EU could not be established, nor was it clear whether spending took place in line with the EU's "geographical and thematic priorities". The ECA also argued that the "complex governance" involved "required stronger coordination, at all levels, and better involvement of EU delegations in migration issues."

The Council has responded to the report by drafting a set of conclusions - which have been discussed by the Permanent Representatives Committee (link to pdf), but have yet to be approved by ministers - that accept the ECA's findings. The latest version of the draft conclusions say:

1. The Council calls upon the Commission to apply clearly defined, achievable, and measurable objectives linked to coherent and concrete deliverables, which should be at the core of dialogue and co-operation frameworks on migration, as well as of the recently adopted financial tools to support these frameworks. Tailor-made monitoring and evaluation tools should be improved to further contribute to enhanced project selection and performance measurement framework.

2. The Council underlines the importance of drawing a clear picture of all EU migration-related spending, in view of future reviews of external action financing instruments, and to improve efficiency and avoid overlap. The Council invites the Commission to provide a comprehensive overview of migration related expenditure at EU level, including discussion with the OECD on the development of a specific DAC (Development Assistance Committee) code on migration, which Member States are encouraged to support.

3. The Council recognises the strong link between migration and development; inter alia to address the root causes of irregular migration as well as the potential positive impact that migration can have on the development of partner countries, as also confirmed in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals. It calls on the Commission and EU Member States to ensure that EU migration actions in partner countries support and strengthen development, in particular through implementing tailored and context-specific interventions based on in-depth analysis and an improved evidence base.

4. The Council underlines the importance of effective coordination between all parties, including locally in partner countries, to ensure that funding and activity is properly aligned, and it calls upon all EU actors to further improve and build upon the recent improvements, making full use of the EU Delegations whose capacities in the migration area should be further strengthened.

5. The Council calls upon the EU and the Member States to take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations of the Court, by identifying a realistic timeframe to implement relevant, achievable and measurable objectives, contributing to a targeted and effective migration policy.

See: Draft Council conclusions on the European Court of Auditors' special report (10021/16, LIMITE, 13 June 2016, pdf). Statewatch has also obtained an earlier version of the draft conclusions - see LIMITE document 9582/1/16 REV 1 (pdf).

The ECA report: European Court of Auditors, EU external migration spending in Southern Mediterranean and Eastern Neighbourhood countries until 2014 (pdf)

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