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Recognizing the need for a comprehensive approach to migration and integration, the European Union (EU) has established several funds and programs to address these topics. One of the primary funding sources is the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund (AMIF), which has witnessed a substantial increase in funding for the 2021-2027 period. Additionally, the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and other related initiatives contribute to the EU’s commitment to fostering social inclusion and creating a more cohesive society.
With a significantly increased budget of €9.9 billion for the 2021-2027 period, compared to €3.137 billion in the previous funding cycle, the AMIF is a vital tool for strengthening the common European asylum policy and addressing migration challenges. It aims to develop legal migration channels aligned with the economic and social needs of EU countries, support the integration of third-country nationals, and tackle irregular migration. AMIF primarily operates through national programs tailored to address the specific needs of EU member states. However, a new development allows for the allocation of funding to local and regional authorities engaged in implementing integration support measures. Additionally, a portion of the fund is directly managed by the European Commission (EC), enabling the financing of transnational projects aimed at enhancing cooperation and sharing best practices across borders.
The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) The ESF+ serves as the EU’s primary investment instrument for fostering a more social and inclusive Europe, with a substantial budget of €99.3 billion for the 2021-2027 period. It plays a pivotal role in financing medium- and long-term integration initiatives, supporting employment opportunities, and contributing to a fair and socially inclusive society. To prioritize social inclusion, EU member states are required to allocate at least 25% of their resources from ESF+ to initiatives that promote social cohesion.
In addition to AMIF and ESF+, the European Commission has developed several other funds and programs contribute to the integration of immigrants into European society. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports employment, education, skill-building, social inclusion, and equal access to healthcare through national or regional programs. The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) focuses on the balanced development of rural economies and communities, aiming to create and maintain employment opportunities, enhance agricultural sector competitiveness, and promote sustainable practices in rural areas. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) plays a crucial role in supporting coastal communities by diversifying their economies, creating new jobs, and improving quality of life. And many more funds contributing to EU values and fundamental rights (CERV), and life-long education, youth and sport (Erasmus+ program), empowering individuals to contribute to society.
Written by: Nenad Stekić