"These proposals on the EU Financial Instruments on Home Affairs are a genuine attempt to create instruments that are stronger and which respond to the needs of those working in the fields of asylum, migration and security. They are of great importance for local and regional authorities as they have a direct impact on their duties and the everyday life of people living in the European Union" Samuel Azzopardi explained in the introduction to his draft opinion, which was unanimously adopted by the CIVEX Commission today.
For the years 2014-2020, the European Commission has proposed to bring the overall home affairs budget to €10.9 billion. This represents an increase of almost 40% compared to the total budget for the previous period 2007-2013. Moreover, the number of home affairs funds and programmes should be reduced from six to two, the Asylum and Migration Fund and the Internal Security Fund. These moves were welcomed by the rapporteur who noted that the changes will bring a much-needed flexibility and a fairer distribution of resources. He also called for more transparency in the use of the budget to ensure that results are easily accessible and understandable for citizens.
The Mayor of the Maltese city of Victoria also welcomed the Commission proposals concerning participation and cooperation with all stakeholders. "The participation of local and regional authorities, as well as that of other stakeholders and the target groups themselves, is essential at all stages of project planning through to implementation, monitoring and evaluation" he said. This was echoed by the CIVEX Chair, Luc Van den Brande, who said "Local and regional authorities are the first to be confronted with issues of Home Affairs. It is important to have everyone on board."
Belinda Pyke, Director of DG Home Affairs at the European Commission, responded to the intervention by congratulating the rapporteur on his draft opinion. She also noted that a policy communication will be published next year and that the European Commission will seek to continue to have regular interactions with the Committee of the Regions in this area.
The opinion will now be discussed and put for adoption by the Committee of the Regions at its Plenary Session on 18-19 July.