A new special report from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) assesses whether the European Integration Fund (EIF) and the European Refugee Fund (ERF) contribute effectively to this integration of these third-country nationals.
The ECA found that while positive results could be observed at the level of individual audited projects, inadequate systems had been set up to measure the success of the Funds. The programme design hampered effectiveness and there was inadequate coordination with other EU funds. Amongst other key points, the Court recommends simplification of programming arrangements and a comprehensive assessment of integration needs regardless of whether migrants have EU or third-country nationality. Based on this assessment, an appropriate fund(s) structure should be designed.
This video shows an interview with Milan Martin Cvikl, Member of the ECA, presenting the Court's report, as well as a statement by Laura Zuccoli, President of ASTI, Luxembourg based organisation for integrating third country nationals to the EU.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Title: Interview with Milan Martin Cvikl, Member of the European Court of Auditors, responsible for the audit
||Title: Question 1: THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATION OF THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS?
||Answer by Milan Martin Cvikl (in ENGLISH) saying that the integration of third-country nationals is high on the political agenda of the EU; over the last decade, the EU has considerably increased its activities in this area; the EU supports the integration of third-country nationals through the European Integration Fund and the European Refugee Fund, both forming part of a programme for management of migration flows, known as the SOLID programme, and amounting to around 1,5 billion euro for the period 2007-2013.
||Title: Question 2: WHAT WAS THE OBJECTIVE OF THE COURT'S AUDIT?
||Answer by Milan Martin Cvikl (in ENGLISH) saying that the objective of the Court's work was to assess whether the European Integration Fund and the European Refugee Fund contribute effectively to the integration of third-country nationals.
||Title: Question 3: DID THE COURT FIND THAT THE FUNDS CONTRIBUTE TO THE INTEGRATION OF THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS?
||Answer by Milan Martin Cvikl (in ENGLISH) saying that the Court found that, while individual projects were successful, the Funds' overall contribution to the integration of third-country nationals could not be measured; the audited Member States did not set proper targets or indicators for their annual programmes; the Commission made an intermediate report which was supposed to cover the results achieved, but this did not provide enough information for the Funds to be evaluated or steered.
||Title: Question 4: WHAT WERE THE FACTORS HAMPERING EFFECTIVE CONTRIBUTION OF THE FUNDS TO INTEGRATION?
||Answer by Milan Martin Cvikl (in ENGLISH) saying that there were a few factors hampering effective contribution of the Funds; the Court found that the design of the SOLID programme is fragmented and burdensome with multiple funds and annual programming, plus a long chain of controls by three authorities in Member States leading to a disproportionate administrative burden; all this hampers beneficiaries in their efforts to help different people with their needs; the Court also found that there is a lack of coherence and coordination with other EU funds, especially the European Social Fund.
||Title: Statement by Laura Zuccoli, President of ASTI ("Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Immigrés"), Luxembourg based organisation for integrating 3rd country nationals to the EU
||Statement by Laura Zuccoli (in ENGLISH) saying that the European Funds enabled ASTI to carry out successfully their interpretation services and also their portal for information but the administrative burden is so heavy that it is difficult to find funds to go on with their project.
||Title: Question 5: WHAT HAS THE COURT RECOMMENDED?
||Answer by Milan Martin Cvikl (in ENGLISH) saying that the Court has issued a number of recommendations, among which:
- there should be simplification of the design of the Funds;
- the Commission should set-up an obligatory system of common indicators and Member States should set target values for national programmes;
- the Commission should carry out a comprehensive assessment of needs of individuals regardless of whether they are EU or third-country nationals;
- the Commission and Member States should ensure that the funds work hand-in-hand with other EU funds, especially the European Social Fund;
saying that the Court is pleased that some of these recommendations have already been proposed by the Commission for the guidelines for the new financial programming period 2014-2020; and should that be adopted, the integration of third-country nationals would be more successful and there would be better use of European funds.