Fortress of Europe: Border Management Overtakes Development Needs

Written by | Monday, August 6th, 2018

The EU might soon spend more on migration control than on development aid for Africa. The EU Commission’s proposal aims to ‘fortify’ Europe by increasing its expenditures on border management to €30.83 billion for the next seven-year period (2021-2027). This is around €2.5 billion more than the funds earmarked for the development of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Commission, however, says that it would boost its 2012-2017 budget for Sub-Saharan Africa by 23%, from €26.1 billion to €32 billion.

Out of the intended €30.83 billion on migration, around €18.8 billion would be dedicated to border management. This would be almost a 200% increase compared to the previous seven-year period, when €5.6 billion was allocated. Almost half of the border management budget would go towards decentralized agencies such as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA). The Commission also wants to support EBCGA’s staffing by increasing the number of border guards and officials to 10,000.

A little less than €10 billion would go towards migration management, in particular to support member states through the Asylum and Migration Fund. A part of this tranche would cover asylum, legal migration and integration but at least half of the money could be earmarked for countering irregular migration, to execute return and support EU members with resources to protect their borders in case of emergencies. The additional budget has been allocated to boost EU’s external borders despite the number of arrivals to Europe being lower by 80% this year, compared to 2017. The extra money was lobbied for by a growing group of countries that wants to shield the EU, including the Visegrad group, the new Italian government and Austria.

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