According to media reports (including in Gazeta Wyborcza, 31 October 2020), on 19 October 2020 the Polish Government published a public tender for a project entitled ‘Logistical support for social aid II’, through which it intended to purchase 308 cars for government use.
This purchase is to be financed using funds from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
The objectives of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund are to contribute to the efficient management of migration flows and to the implementation, strengthening and development of the common policy on asylum, subsidiary protection and temporary protection and the common immigration policy […].
Projects aimed at achieving its objectives which were rejected by the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration (the body responsible for implementing the Fund in Poland) include those such as ‘Let’s Support Refugees’, a project by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.
On 01 November 2020, Polish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Łukasz Kohut of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats filed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.
MEP Kohut enquired “was the Commission informed by the Polish Government of the above-mentioned allocation of funding under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund?” and “does the Commission consider the above-mentioned spending under this Fund to be compatible with its purpose?”
Finally, MEP Kohut asked the Commission “is it aware of what the reasoning was behind the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration’s rejection of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights project ‘Let’s Support Refugees’?”
On 16 December, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission and reported that “according to the information from the Responsible Authority in Poland for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the Polish Centrum Obsługi Administracji Rządowej — the government agency for central public procurements — published on 19 October 2020 a tender for the purchase of 308 cars for 70 different offices of the Polish administration”. She further clarified “one of those offices is the Office for Foreigners, which plans to purchase three cars to be financed under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund”.
Commissioner Johansson further explained that “this project is currently under preparation and the Responsible Authority has not yet signed a financial agreement” and “the purchase of the other 305 cars will be financed from the Polish national budget”.
Commissioner Johansson explained that “the purchase of cars is not excluded from the scope of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund as long as these are related to reception systems, asylum procedures, or return measures” and “Poland’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund national programme also foresees actions that could cover purchase of vehicles in relation to these areas”. She also asserted that “under shared management, the Commission is not involved in the selection of projects supported under the national programmes”.
The Home Affairs Commissioner expressed that “this is the responsibility of the Responsible Authority” and “for details related to the selection of projects under Poland’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund national programme, please refer to the Responsible Authority within the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration”. She concluded that “the Commission assesses the eligibility of projects and the respect of applicable rules in the framework of the annual clearance of accounts” and “the expenditure related to the purchase of cars under Poland’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund national programme has not yet been reported to the Commission”.
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