Some 250,000 people apply for asylum in the EU each year. However, the number of applicants is not equally distributed among the EU countries. Fortunately, Lithuania is at the end of the list. Two funds, the European Refugee and European Integration funds, are the smallest Project management division at the Agency, and belong to the General Programme “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows”. Our team proudly provides all possibilities to contribute and support the EU‘s effort in receiving refugees and displaced persons and in guaranteeing access to consistent, fair and effective asylum procedures and to help integrate the ones who have arrived from third countries.
The European Union (EU) programme European Refuge Fund (ERF) 2005-2007 (2,03 mln. Euro) was administrated by ESFA, which made it easier to accept asylum seekers, refugees and to improve return processes.
Although the movement of persons into, out of and within each EU State vary, our societies share similar migration challenges and opportunities. This is all the more significant for the EU as an area without internal borders. Therefore, EU countries have decided to join forces. Through practical cooperation, information sharing and the synchronisation of national responses to migration, a common, comprehensive approach has been established to manage migration. This approach was underpinned by the General Programme „Solidarity and the Management of Migration Flows” (SOLID).
From 2007 to 2013, the SOLID allocated almost 4 billion Euro. The General Programme was divided into four units: External Borders Fund (EBF), Return Fund (RF), European Refugee Fund (ERF), and European Fund for the integration of third-country nationals (EIF).
The Agency has been administrating the European Refugee Fund (ERF) under the SOLID since 2009 and will continue to do so until 2015. During the 2008-2013 multiannual programme, Lithuania received around 4,12 mln. Euro under the ERF. The main purpose of ERF was to support and encourage the efforts made by the Member States in receiving and bearing the consequences of receiving refugees and displaced persons.
The ERF co-financed actions, to include:
• Actions related to the conditions which asylum seekers are received, such as accommodation infrastructures or services;
• Actions related to ensuring access to asylum procedures, such as provision of structures and training;
• Actions providing legal and social assistance for asylum seekers, refugees;
• Actions which support the empowerment and acquisition of skills by refugees, including language training;
• Actions supporting resettlement or relocation (i.e. intra-EU transfer) operations, etc.
The results from the ERF are as follows:
• Implemented 52 projects;
• Absorped 84% of ERF 2005-2007 funding;
• Absorped 92% of ERF 2008-2013 funding.
An additional SOLID unit, the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (EIF), was assigned to the Agency in 2007.
EIF sought to promote European cooperation, with the objective of granting comparable rights, responsibilities and opportunities for all. Most important, such initiatives included programmes for improving diversity management in neighbourhoods, intercultural training and dialogue, the promotion of courses for better understanding the integration processes, platforms and tools for comparative learning, measures for sharing information and best practices among European integration practitioners (e.g. online discussion forums, conferences, etc.) and activities in the hosting EU State and in the immigrant’s country of origin on introduction to the host society.
The allocation for EIF in Lithuania for the multiannual programme 2007-2013 was 6,24 mln. Euro.
The results from the EIF are as follows:
• Supported 81 projects;
• Absorped 96% of EIF 2007-2013 funding.