The European Union Parliament and Council have reached a political deal to allocate an amount of €6.241 billion over the next seven years for EU border management and visa processing.
In a meeting held on Thursday, December 10, the Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the border management fund for 2021-2027, worth 6.241 billion, in order to support strong and effective European integrated border management at the external borders.
The same funds will also be used to ensure a harmonised approach for issuing visas and to facilitate legitimate travel, with 10 per cent of the total fund set to be earmarked for visa policy in national programmes upon the insisting of the MEPs present in the meeting.
Commenting on the agreement, rapporteur Tanja Fajon asserted that the agreement means that Europe’s borders will be safer and more centred around people.
“With more funds for visa policy, search and rescue operations, and enhanced provisions on fundamental rights – including the protection of vulnerable persons and a referral mechanism – we will hopefully make our borders more humane,” rapporteur Fajon said.
The same fund will also support:
- the European Border and Coast Guard
- the implementation of the hotspot approach
- the interoperability of various IT systems, as follows:
Throughout the meeting, the negotiators form Parliament’s side successfully secured support for measures to identify vulnerable persons and unaccompanied minors in order to better help those in need of international protection.
“The development of integrated child protection systems at the external borders and actions supporting member states in issuing visas on humanitarian grounds will also be funded,” the Parliament noted in a press release announcing the deal reached, which will now be finalised before being formally adopted by Parliament and the Council.
On Tuesday, December 8, the Council and the Parliament also agreed on a political agreement on the reformation of the Visa Information System in order to set clear conditions for access to different databases and systems.
The latter is an EU security database used by both EU and national authorities to check third-country nationals who need a visa to travel to the Schengen Zone. Its reformation had been previously proposed by the Commission since May 2018. Its approval, among others, means that there will soon be more thorough background checks on third-country citizens applying for EU visas and residence permits.