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Refugee Fund

Some 250 000 people apply for asylum in the EU each year. However, the number of applicants is not equally distributed among EU countries. Some countries face larger strains on their reception capacities and asylum systems due to the disproportionally large influxes of asylum seekers into their territories. European solidarity with these EU countries is ensured through practical cooperation, harmonisation of legislation and the European Refugee Fund (ERF).

Supporting EU countries' efforts in receiving refugees

The ERF (EUR 630 million over the period 2008-13) supports EU countries’ efforts in receiving refugees and displaced persons and in guaranteeing access to consistent, fair and effective asylum procedures. The Fund also supports resettlement programmes and actions related to the integration of persons whose stay is of a lasting and stable nature. Moreover, it provides for emergency measures to address sudden arrivals of large numbers of persons who may be in need of international protection, which place significant and urgent demands on EU countries' reception facilities or asylum systems.

Concrete actions

The ERF, in which all EU countries except for Denmark participate, co-finances actions, such as:

  • improvements of reception accommodation infrastructures or services
  • structures and training to ensure access to asylum procedures
  • legal and social assistance for asylum seekers, refugees
  • measures to support the empowerment of and acquisition of skills by refugees, including language training
  • resettlement or relocation (i.e. intra-EU transfer ) operations, etc.

General implementation mechanisms of the ERF

National Programmes: the Fund is implemented by EU countries through shared management. This means that each EU State implements the Fund through national annual programmes on the basis of multiannual programming.

Community Actions: at the Commission's initiative, 4% of the ERF's available resources may be used to finance transnational actions or actions of interest to the EU as a whole.

Examples of projects

Learning about Slovenian history, culture and its constitutional set up

By teaching refugees about various cultural and historical aspects of Slovenian society, the project helped them understand their host country and integrate easier into society.

Project dates:  01/08/2011 - 30/11/2011ERFSlovenia

Centre for adolescents

A total of 17 unaccompanied minors were provided with accommodation, while others benefited from support services – including psycho-social support, legal advice, and professional orientation – during this six-month project.

Project dates:  01/07/2011 - 31/12/2011ERFGreece

Additional tools



The transfer of refugees from the country in which they have sought refuge to another State that has agreed to ...


Resettlement Programme

Voluntary programmes through which EU States aim to provide international protection and a durable solution in ...



The transfer of persons having a status defined by the Geneva Convention or subsidiary protection within the ...



A person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political ...


International protection

The actions by the international community on the basis of international law, aimed at protecting the fundamental ...


European Refugee Fund

A financial instrument for the period 2008 to 2013, which supports national and EU efforts in receiving refugees ...


Displaced person

Non-EU nationals or stateless persons who have had to leave their country or region of origin or have been ...


Community actions

Transnational actions of interest to the EU as a whole. These are financed by the EU through the Funds in the ...


Asylum applicant

A non-EU national or a stateless person who has made an application for asylum in respect of which a final decision has not yet been taken.



A form of protection given by a State, on its territory, based on the principle of non-refoulement and internationally ...



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