The Internal Security Fund will tackle “terrorism and radicalisation, serious and organised crime and… assisting and protecting victims of crime.” What this means in practice is using the vast majority of this budget to implement and develop EU law and policy on crime control, and continue with the construction of a pan-EU law enforcement machinery. Learn more.
The Integrated Border Management Fund – Border and Visa will ensure “strong and effective European integrated border management at the external borders while safeguarding the free movement of persons within it”. Much of the budget will be spent acquiring new border control technologies, training border security forces and intelligence gathering. It is noteworthy that there is no direct reference to fundamental rights, while the emphasis on externalisation appears intended to push the issue of states’ responsibilities to uphold human rights further out of sight and out of mind. Learn more.
The Asylum and Migration Fund aims to “contribute to an efficient management of migration flows in line with the relevant Union acquis and in compliance with the Union’s commitments on fundamental rights.” In practice, this includes managing internal asylum procedures, paying third countries to detain migrants so that they cannot reach the EU, or funding deportations. Despite three of the objectives of the AMF aiming explicitly to enhance the “external dimension” of asylum and migration management, there are no specific human rights safeguards for third countries included in the text. Learn more.
The security research programme Civil Security for Society aims “to strengthen the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing Union policies, and support the uptake of innovative solutions in industry and society to address global challenges”. This means funding research related to disaster preparedness and response (ranging from terrorist attacks to industrial disasters, floods and forest fires); “protection and security” (encompassing crime, radicalisation, terrorism and border control); and cybersecurity. In the past, private companies, among them arms companies, have been the main beneficiaries of these kind of research programmes. The European Border Coast Guard Agency – Frontex, has significant influence on what is being researched. Learn more.
The European Defence Fund aims “to foster the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation capacity of the European defence industry.” The main beneficiaries are arms companies, many of which are accused of corruption or involved in highly controversial arms exports to countries experiencing armed conflict or where authoritarian regimes are in place and human rights violations are commonplace. The approval of the European Defence Fund has paved the way for the unprecedented militarisation of the EU, setting it firmly on a course that emphasises the need for ‘hard power’ and further intertwines its interests with those of the arms industry.
The European Peace Facility aims “to preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security”. It is a new budget designed to finance military operations carried out by the EU or its allies, or to provide equipment, training or other assistance to those allies. The use of the word “peace” in the name of the fund can only be described as Orwellian, given that this is a budget designed to increase the EU’s ability to launch or assist various types of military operation, and, for the first time in the EU’s history, directly buy weapons for third countries. The EPF is an off-budget fund over which the European Parliament has no control.