The meeting brought together the leaders of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia with the German and Austrian Chancellors Merkel and Faymann. It was agreed:
• to increase the resources for food, health, temporary shelter, water and sanitation for all migrants in need, making use of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism where necessary;
• to reallocate €10 billion to the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), to be used for capacity-building projects for public services and municipalities which are especially affected by migration pressures;
• to allow EU member states to exempt their migration-related social investments from the Stability and Growth Pact’s (SGP) deficit calculations.
CESI generally welcomes these decisions. CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger notes: “CESI has in the past repeatedly called to facilitate social investments in areas that concern the very functioning of societies in the long term. This includes migration management.”
At the same time, CESI believes that still more obstacles need to be overcome in order to support the civil servants involved in migration management on the ground. As Commission President Juncker confirmed, Europe still lacks more than 2000 experts to manage the multifaceted migration challenges properly and a further 775 civil servants are needed to bring order to the EU’s external borders.
Moreover, even if EU leaders announced at the mini-summit that the rules of the SGP should be applied with more flexibility, member states still lack the certainty that their public spending on migration will also be considered well-invested. This may compromise on their willingness to hire new public employees on permanent contracts and finance their formation and training.
Mr Heeger concludes: “In order to meet the migration challenges in the long-term, the EU needs a true common migration and asylum policy. Here, defining an absolute figure of arriving migrants that the EU can manage in a sustainable manner might be envisaged too.”
For further background information about CESI’s activities and views on this topic, please consult the coverage report of CESI’s recent event “Public sector workers facing the new challenges of migration”.