The European Union Member States agreed on Monday (12 September) that the funds for the poorer parts of the block, mostly in Eastern Europe, will be lowered next year while budget for migration management and economic growth will be boosted. The European Commission’s proposal to increase spending on migration-related issues is in line with the fact that only in 2015 about 1.3 million people reached the shores of Europe, heading mostly to Germany.
This number means an increase by almost 25 percent, which substantiated the need for more funds. The Commission’s proposal to boost the budget on migration was fully supported by EU Member States. The budget for next year should reach a total of €5.2 billion with the money to be allocated on the reinforcement of external borders, integration of migrants, and resettlement of asylum seekers. On top of migration, Brussels also promised more support for EU projects, aiming to boost economic growth and job creation as the EU is still having a hard time to decrease its unemployment rate following the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
To get new funds and compensate for the boost in budget on migration and economic growth, Brussels has decided to decrease spending on the least developed regions in the EU which, in 2017, will receive payments lower by almost 24 percent compared to this year. This will have an impact on Eastern European Member States, which, as major beneficiaries of EU aid, are concerned that there might be further cuts in the foreseeable future. The EU executive is planning a regular review of the budgetary framework for 2014-2020 and might also propose more flexibility and give preference to the most pressing issues.