EU OKs higher budget to address migration



European Union countries have agreed to increase spending to manage migration flows and spur growth.

Accordingly, the migration budget for next year would total €5.2 billion,the Council of EU governments said in a note on Monday.

The funds are expected to be spent on reinforcing external borders, resettling asylum seekers and integrating migrants. Also, another €2.2 billion would be for spent to support any action outside the EU to address the causes of refugee flows.

The budgeting policy is meant to address an influx of migrants last year as a result of which 1.3 million people came to the southern shores of the EU, heading mainly to Germany from Greece and Italy.

EU states have also agreed to slash funds from next year’s budget to poor regions of the bloc that are mostly located in the east.

The Eastern European countries will accordingly see in 2017 a fall in payments by nearly 24 percent year-on-year.

They are the main beneficiaries of development funds and fear that this decision could pave the way for bigger cuts in coming years, diplomats told Reuters.

On Tuesday, the European Commission plans a regular review of the EU financial framework for the period 2014-20, and may propose a more flexible budget giving priorities to emergencies and cutting fixed expenses, Reuters added.

The cuts for poor regions, the largest of all expenditure headings, are partly due to the longer periods needed by regional administrations to launch development projects, which usually surge towards the final phase of EU long-term budgets, the current running between 2014 and 2020, an EU official told Reuters.

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