The Treaty of Lisbon makes explicit reference to pooling financial resources to support common policies on asylum, immigration and external borders. Given the increasing salience of the policy areas in recent years, the European Union (EU) has for the first time established a specific heading devoted to migration and border management in its new multiannual financial framework (MFF).
Endowed with €22.7 billion (2018 prices) for the years 2021 to 2027, the heading finances the activities of specific EU decentralised agencies, such as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), as well as two funding instruments, likely to be named the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF). The regulations governing the two funds are being finalised by the co-legislators. When designing the proposals for them, the European Commission aimed to improve synergies with other EU funding instruments and increase capacity to react to evolving needs.
Expenditure for these policy areas is still a minor share of the EU budget (2.1 %, excluding the resources from the Next Generation EU recovery instrument), but these allocations represent a significant increase in relative terms, as compared with the 2014-2020 period. The reinforcement seeks to address weaknesses of the previous MFF that the 2015-2016 refugee crisis exposed, obliging EU institutions to use the flexibility provisions of the framework extensively. However, the Commission had proposed larger increases that the European Council cut. In the MFF negotiations with the Council, the European Parliament managed to strengthen the 'border management' policy cluster, which will gradually bring the overall resources of the heading to €23.7 billion by 2027.