I wish to inform the House that the government has opted in to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF), and the horizontal regulation laying down the general provisions for this fund for the period 2014 to 2020. The decision has been made not to opt in to the Internal Security Fund (Police) Regulation (ISF Police) at this time.
The objectives of the AMF, under the freedom, security and justice heading of the EU budget, is to contribute to an effective management of migration flows in the Union drawing together the capacity building process developed within the current EU migration funds and extending these to cover some aspects of external migration policy under the framework of the EU global approach to migration.
The UK has benefitted from participation in predecessor EU funding programmes, in particular in relation to EU migration funding for returns programmes, resettlement projects and community integration projects. The current EU migration funds partly finance our charter flight programmes and have enabled the UK to expand the range of destinations and programme parameters. The UK also has a well-established resettlement programme due to the co-financing from the current EU migration funding streams. Without this funding UK Border Agency would not be able to continue the scale of resettlement activity currently undertaken. Furthermore, the current European fund for the integration of third-country nationals has become an important source of funding for third-country nationals seeking to integrate into British society.
The ISF (Police) Regulation aims to establish the instrument for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and combating crime and crisis management. The decision not to opt in to the ISF (Police) was driven by the substance of the proposal as it currently stands, coupled with the overall need for budgetary constraint in this time of fiscal austerity. The UK sees value in the ISF (Police) Fund supporting practical action on police cooperation and internal security. However, we have ongoing concerns about the budgetary elements of the programme, in particular given the obligations that will arise from the arrangements for shared management. We need to be absolutely sure that the benefits we will secure from the programme outweigh the cost of participation. We will consider whether to apply to opt in post adoption when the financial commitments will be known.
The horizontal regulation establishes the management procedures for both funds. In concluding that it is in our interests to opt in to the AMF, it was therefore necessary to opt in to this measure.
All the proposals remain under negotiation.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Date: Wed Apr 25 12:20:57 BST 2012