Financial instruments addressing EU migration challenges

This article is part of the Spring 2022 edition of the fi-compass newsletter. To access more articles like this, subscribe to our newsletter!

“Migration has always been a fact for Europe – and it will always be. Throughout centuries, it has defined our societies, enriched our cultures and shaped many of our lives. And this will always be the case.”

President Ursula von der Leyen

State of the Union Address at the European Parliament Plenary,

16 September 2020

Efficient and comprehensive management of migration flows from third countries is one of the top priorities of the European Union. This matter has become even more relevant in the recent weeks with Member States welcoming a high number of refugees fleeing Ukraine. Financial instruments can be an effective tool to support the objectives of early, medium and long-term integration of people arriving from third countries to the EU.

With this potential in mind, the new fifth fi-compass workstream dedicated to financial instruments in the area of integration of migrants, with resources from the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and other funds, was launched by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) and the European Investment Bank in early 2022.

Through its advisory activities, fi-compass intends to explore the potential of investments in various areas of integration of migrants with the most suitable financial instruments. fi-compass intends to support managing authorities and other stakeholders in developing another approach on the use of grants as means to address migration challenges. Areas suitable for financial instruments could be, for instance, microfinance, social entrepreneurship, social outcomes contracting and housing.

Activities supported by the fi-compass AMIF workstream aim to ‘empower, optimise and leverage’. They provide strategic support and contribute to building capacities to pool resources, develop and deliver coherent actions. The AMIF provides dedicated and tailored assistance to the integration actions focused exclusively on migrants, without time considerations. It complements investments that could be supported by the ESF+ and other shared management funds, supporting migrants among other groups in vulnerable position.

In practical terms, AMIF-backed support can range from the provision of comprehensive language training and civic orientation programmes for third country nationals, to investments in infrastructure, such as construction, refurbishment and adaptation of reception centres and building of temporary and permanent housing for migrants.

War in Ukraine: financial instruments and the EU migration challenge

On 4 March 2022, the EU agreed to activate the Temporary Protection Directive to offer to people fleeing the war in Ukraine quick and harmonised rights such as a residence permit for the entire duration of the protection, access to employment, accommodation or housing, social welfare or means of subsistence etc.

In this context, EU funds established in the MFF 2021-2027, including AMIF, will provide substantial resources for Member States to ensure adequate reception and accommodation facilities, supporting local, regional and national authorities implementing integration actions. In addition, to optimise the use of unspent resources in the MFF 2014-2020, the Commission proposed to prolong by one year the implementation period of the HOME funds.

The Commission has also proposed to bring additional flexibility in the EU’s cohesion funds to finance measures to support people fleeing the war. Under the proposal “Cohesion's Action for Refugees in Europe” (CARE), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Fund for the European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) would fund such measures.

With the adoption of the CARE proposal, existing ERDF and ESF financial instruments could be repurposed to finance measures supporting migrants, once their Investment Strategy is respectively amended.

fi-compass advisory on financial instruments in the area of integration of migrants

Managing authorities and other relevant stakeholders can benefit from a broad range of fi-compass advisory services related to financial instruments in the area of integration of migrants under AMIF and also under other resources, for instance the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and the InvestEU Social Investment and Skills Window, including:

  • Publications such as brochures, studies, case studies,
  • Events such as conferences and thematic workshops,
  • Targeted coaching for managing authorities and other interested relevant stakeholders,
  • Video material,
  • Podcasts, and much more.

The AMIF workstream page on the fi-compass website is already online and provides a summary how financial instruments can support the integration of migrants. The page will be regularly updated to include new resources and links.

The flagship AMIF conference, providing an opportunity to exchange and share knowledge between a broad spectrum of stakeholders working with financial instruments to support the area of integration of migrants, is planned for the second half of October 2022. The conference programme will be published and registrations will open soon.

The conference programme will be published and registrations will open soon.

Are you interested in knowing more about the use of financial instruments in the area of integration of migrants?

Join our community, create a fi-compass profile and subscribe to our newsletter to stay in touch. Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@fi-compass.eu to ask a question or find out more on the AMIF targeted coaching, a direct advisory service provided at no costs for recipient authorities.