External EU emergency funds should better address the causes of migration flows, always be scrutinised by the European Parliament and only be used as a last resort. This is what the EPP Group will call for in today's debate and tomorrow's vote on the evaluation Report of the €6 billion used for refugees in Turkey, Syria and Colombia, the so-called EU Trust Funds (EUTFs) and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT).
“This money helped mitigate the effects of the migrant crisis”, said Milan Zver MEP, Parliament's negotiator of the Report in the Foreign Affairs Committee: "These instruments clearly provided opportunities for the EU to take quick and effective action and have proven to be crucial in the EU's reaction to unexpected crises abroad.” But it is time for new action, warned Zver: “As the existing Trust Funds will cease to exist at the end of this year, we need to focus on the lessons learned from their implementation and use them to improve the new generation of the EU external financial instruments. In the case that a new Trust Fund is needed, it must be duly justified and the scrutiny role of the European Parliament should be guaranteed from the start."
György Hölvényi MEP, Parliament's negotiator of the Report in the Development Committee, wants the flexibility of the emergency funds to be brought to the new development instruments: “EUTFs proved to be a flexible, useful tool in emergencies. We, the EPP Group, expect the Commission to integrate the flexibility, efficiency and targeted working methods of the funds to the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument. The EU must always be ready to respond to new challenges. In times when the uncertainty continues, we have to be ready to respond quickly", added Hölvényi. “Future EU development cooperation must efficiently address the root causes of migration. There must never be a situation when the EU is unable to help people in need or address new major challenges such as the migration flows.”
The new Global Europe Programme, which is the EU's neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument for the budgetary period from 2021-2027, has an overall budget of nearly €80 billion. The EPP Group wants to use it notably to address new crises such as in Afghanistan or Belarus, where new migratory flows can arise.
Janusz Lewandowski MEP, Parliament's negotiator of the Report in the Budgets Committee, insists on Parliament's role with the funds. "External assistance financed from the EU budget should be implemented in a coherent manner on the basis of the rules adopted by Parliament and the Member States and in full respect of Parliament's legislative, budgetary and control powers. Conclusions drawn from the current functioning of the EU trust funds should enable better use of the new foreign policy instruments.” Lewandowski further underlined: "The Parliament reiterates that existing legal, regulatory and budgetary solutions should have been used to their full extent before creating or extending the EUTFs, which should remain a last resort instrument."
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 179 Members from all EU Member States