How is the programme designed to deliver results?
Over recent years, security threats have intensified and diversified in Europe. They have come in the form of terrorist attacks, new types of serious and organised crime, as well as cybercrime.
Taking into account that security has an inherently cross-border dimension and that, beyond internal security challenges, EU faces complex external threats that no Member State can meet on its own, a strong, coordinated response is required at EU level.
ISF is set up to contribute to a high level of security in the EU, in particular by preventing and combating terrorism, radicalisation, serious and organised crime and cybercrime, by assisting and protecting victims of crime, and by preparing for, protecting against and effectively managing security-related incidents, risks and crises.
ISF pursues the following specific objectives:
- To increase the exchange of information among and within the EU law enforcement and other competent authorities and other relevant EU bodies as well as with non-EU countries and international organisations;
- To intensify cross-border cooperation, including joint operations, among and within the EU law enforcement and other competent authorities in relation to terrorism and serious and organised crime with a cross-border dimension; and
- To support efforts to strengthen capabilities to combat and prevent crime, terrorism and radicalisation, as well as manage security-related incidents, risks and crises, in particular through increased cooperation between public authorities, civil society and private partners across the Member States.
- EUR 1 931.0 millionTotal financial programming 2021-2027
In EUR million.
ISF supports a broad range of actions in line with the European Security Agenda, including:
- The purchase/procurement of ICT systems, and associated training, testing as well as their improved interoperability and data quality;
- Monitoring of the implementation of EU law and policy objectives in the Member States in the area of security information systems;
- Operations implementing or facilitating the implementation of the EU Policy Cycle/EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal. Threats);
- Support to thematic or cross-theme networks of specialised national units to improve mutual confidence, exchange and dissemination of know-how, information, experiences and best practices, pooling of resources and expertise in joint centres of excellence;
- Education and training for relevant law enforcement and judicial authorities and administrative agencies.
ISF is implemented though shared management by the Member States and direct/indirect management by the Commission. For the latter, the lead Directorate General is DG HOME, in close coordination with DG REGIO, EMPL and MARE.
Performance framework: more information
Where are we in the implementation?
You will find information on the programme implementation in this webpage.
It will be updated when the programme will have started on an annual basis alongside the publication of the draft budget and the discharge.
Next publication (estimation): June 2022.
Predecessor programmes 2014-2020
ISF has the same policy objectives and implementation modalities as its 2014-2020 MFF predecessor – the Internal Security Fund – Police strand. Whereas the specific objectives of the 2014‑2020 MFF programme focused on crime and crisis, the 2021-2027 ISF has more crosscutting specific objectives.
2014-2020 Internal Security Fund
- EUR 3 942.7 millionBudget allocation 2014-2020
Overall execution (2014-2020)
||EUR 3 899.5 million
||EUR 2 289.0 million
This graph includes implementation based on voted budget and carried-over appropriations, as well as implementation based on recoveries.
More information on the overall execution
- Based on the current national programmes, the overall allocation to Member States under the national programmes of the ISF stands at EUR 3.17 billion (EUR 2.42 billion for ISF Borders and Visa and more than EUR 0.75 billion for ISF Police). The implementation of the ISF will run until the end of 2022, and therefore 2 years of implementation still remain. By 2020, the fund had reached an absorption rate of 57%. This can be considered satisfactory overall, given that it is implemented mainly through long-term projects for heavy equipment or the development of relevant information technology systems. Under the ISF emergency assistance tool, which is used to support the Member States facing significant and urgent challenges at the external borders or with respect to security threats, EUR 426 million has been made available since 2014.
- The ISF national programmes were revised in 2020 to include an overall amount of EUR 78.9 million provided to seven Member States to support border control activities, in particular in those Member States confronted with high migratory pressure at the external borders.
Key monitoring indicators
||2 680 consulates compared to target of 923
|Number of border control infrastructures
||33 516 infrastructures compared to target of 19 902
|National border surveillance infrastructures established / further developed in the framework of the European Border Surveillance System
||30 infrastructures out of 30
|Projects of joint investigation teams and European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (including Member States and authorities)
||287 projects compared to target of 216
|Protection of critical infrastructures by Member States
||406 projects out of 478
% of target achieved by the end of 2020
More information on the performance of the programme
- Taking into account the difficult situation at the external borders linked to high migration pressure and continuous security challenges, the ISF has proven to be efficient, ensuring the protection of the external borders and a high level of security in the EU.
- The fund has supported overarching EU policies in the area of external border management and visas, such as the uniform implementation of the Schengen acquis, the European Border Surveillance System, the purchase of border management equipment for use by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the common visa policy and relevant information technology systems. The direct management has mainly contributed to relevant supporting studies for the information technology systems, relevant evaluation mechanism schemes, some transnational projects in the area of purchasing and using equipment and training.
- ISF Borders and Visa makes a crucial contribution to the application of the Schengen acquis. The EU has invested heavily in the effective control of the external borders through EU-level information systems, providing border guards and police officers with relevant information. The success of the Schengen information system reduces the risk of people who pose a security threat, including returning EU nationals, being able to cross the borders unnoticed. The instrument has also helped to increase the Member States’ capacities to invest in border surveillance resources and infrastructures, and to make resources available to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in joint operations. It has also helped increase quality and security in the issuance of Schengen visas by ensuring timely adaptations to national visa information systems, and the provision of the necessary equipment and training.
- The ISF is increasing the capacity of Member States to undertake border surveillance, to facilitate legitimate travel and to develop consular cooperation. After a slow start to actions consisting of the purchase of border surveillance equipment that were subject to onerous procurement procedures, the implementation of the ISF Borders and Visa programme is in full swing, exceeding its 2020 targets for establishing national border surveillance infrastructures and for developing consulates and consular cooperation.
- ISF Police support is driven by the needs of national authorities whose aim is to keep citizens safe, while at the same time it pursues joint actions with an impact on the security of Member States. The instrument supports measures enhancing mutual trust and information sharing among national authorities. In this regard, important financial support is offered to several networks of law enforcement authorities or practitioners, such as the Radicalisation Awareness Network. The joint investigation teams and the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats contribute to better coordination among the Member States. Moreover, ISF Police finances the establishment and operation of the national passenger name record systems, allowing national law enforcement authorities to exchange information on passengers in air travel.
- For both strands, however, training of staff is significantly below the targets. Data at the national level show that some Member States have already attained or are close to their targets, while others have yet to report projects for training. In addition, the situation deteriorated from March 2020 onwards with the outbreak of COVID-19, which became a real obstacle. Virtual training courses are not always possible for border control and security topics.
- One of the key lessons learned from the 2014-2020 period was that there was insufficient flexibility to respond to changing needs during the programming period. In the 2021-2027 period, for both the new ISF and the new Integrated Border Management Fund, this challenge will be addressed by providing an initial amount to the Member States equal to around 48% of the total funds for the Integrated Border Management Fund, and around 58% for the ISF. The rest will be provided on the basis of financial performance at the midterm point or, for the larger portion, will be managed through the thematic facility. This facility offers flexibility in the management of the instrument by allowing the disbursement of funds, notably for emergency assistance and other key needs identified at EU level.
Concrete examples of achievements
- 287joint investigation team and European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats operational projects were supported by the instrument during the 2014-2020 period.
- 465projects were carried out in the area of crime prevention during the 2014-2020 period.
- 33 516border control infrastructures and resources were developed or upgraded with the help of the instrument during the 2014-2020 period.
- 2 680consular cooperation activities were developed with the help of the instrument during 2014 to 2020.
- 209 178hits were found in the Schengen information systems in 2020.
Programme Performance Overview