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