14/05/2024 – MPC Seminar Two decades of EU Funds for migration and asylum: the MigFund dataset

MPC Seminar Two decades of EU Funds for migration and asylum: the MigFund dataset

14 May 2024, 11:00 – 12:00 CEST
Hybrid: Sala Triaria (Villa Schifanoia, EUI) and Online – Zoom

Speaker: Federica Zardo | Danube University Krems
Chair: Hirotaka Fujibayashi | Migration Policy Centre of the EUI’s Robert Schuman Centre

Join our seminar that will focus on MigFund project which aims at tracing the development of EU funds for migration and asylum over 20 years.

In contrast to somehow stalemated policy processes on migration and asylum, EU financial responses to so-called migration crises have been remarkable. EU funds for migration and asylum – and the practice of governing through funding – are increasingly under the lens of advocacy groups, civil society organisations and scholars alike.

Federica Zardo argues that, despite the attention, this strand of research and analysis faces at least one major empirical challenge. There is a paucity of disaggregated data concerning the range of asylum, forced displacement and migration-related activities supported by the EU, which prevents us from establishing a detailed trajectory of how the EU translated its objectives into funding allocations over time. Reports by NGOs, the European Court of Auditors and researchers have tried to assess the allocation of funds to priorities and determine coherence between objectives. However, the scope of these evaluations is limited in time and space (often focusing on one budgetary period or one region), and the authors consistently express frustration over the absence of comprehensive information regarding the funding lines available to the EU and the member states, the specific amounts and the details of the activities involved. This gap also undermines attempts at theorising the practice of governing through funding .

The MigFund dataset represents the most comprehensive endeavour in tracing migration-related measures within internal and external EU funds from 2000 onwards. It goes beyond mere tracking, quantifying the changes associated with these measures across various dimensions, including financial allocations, sub-policy areas, targeted migrant populations, geographic regions, and the degrees of restrictiveness of committed measures.

The presentation of the MigFund dataset aims to start a theoretical reflection on the politics of EU funding. Indeed, we know little about how EU funding programmes are designed and why they change. The prevailing assumption, in contrast to the literature on policy tools and budgetary politics, is that funding merely reflects developments at the policy level. This perspective, however, oversimplifies the complex dynamics that govern EU funding mechanisms, their actors, interests and constraints. More work is needed to understand the nature of the relationship between policies and the tools designed to implement them.

Please note that registration is mandatory for attendance.

Federica Zardo is a Senior Researcher at the Danube University in Krems (Austria) at the Department for Migration and Globalisation, and a lecturer at the University of Vienna. She received her PhD in 2015 at the University of Turin (Italy) with a thesis on EU-Tunisia relations. She is a political scientist working at the intersection between international relations and public policy, with an empirical focus on the EU´s migration policy and EU external action. She is currently the PI of the MigFund project that studies changes in EU funding tools for migration and asylum. Before leading the MigFund project, she was part of the Quantmig and Easyrights H2020 research projects. Her research has been published in outlets such as the Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Geopolitics, International Politics, Mediterranean Politics and the European Foreign Affairs Review. In addition to her research activities, she teaches courses on EU foreign policy, European integration and EU migration policy at the University of Vienna.