European Peace Facility

In “A Stronger Europe in the World”

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The Council Decision (CFSP)  2021/509 of 22 March 2021 established the EPF.

On 13 June 2018, former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (High Representative), Federica Mogherini presented a proposal for a European Peace Facility (EPF). The facility is designed to allow financing of all Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) external action with military and defence implications. The aim behind the creation of the EFP is to enhance the EU’s ability to safeguard European security interests and prevent conflict, build peace and strengthen security around the world.

The new EPF is  constituted as an off-budget fund, to be financed by yearly contributions from EU Member States. Contributions of individual EU Member States will be determined on the basis of a Gross National Income distribution key.

The Facility has a  financial ceiling of €5.692 billion (2021 prices) for 2021-2027, with an annual ceiling that will gradually increase from €420 million in 2021 to €1.132 billion in 2027. Even though it is outside the EU budget, the Facility will run alongside the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027.

The EU Treaty does not currently allow the Union’s budget to be used to finance expenditure with military or defence implications. However, as an off-budget mechanism financed through contributions by EU Member States, the EPF allows the EU:

  • to contribute to the funding of EU military operations,
  • to provide support to partners’ military peace support operations, and
  • to support broader actions of a military/defence nature in support of CFSP objectives.

Since 2004, the EU’s involvement in military missions and operations has been funded through the ATHENA mechanism, an off-budget mechanism funded by Member States. The EPF replaces the ATHENA mechanism, through which the EU has so far financed the “common costs” of EU military Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations and missions. The Facility makes EU funding available on a permanent basis, which would allow for more rapid deployment, and improve both flexibility and predictability. 

The EPF allows the EU to contribute to the financing of military peace support operations led by partners anywhere in the world. Until now, this support could only be provided to African-led peace support operations - led by the African Union or by African regional organisations - through the African Peace Facility (AFP). The EPF therefore also replaces the APF, with a broader geographic scope than the African continent.  

The EPF allows the EU to support the armed forces of partner countries with infrastructure, equipment or military assistance, and more effective capacity-building. 

The EPF is managed by a Facility committee (Article 11 of the EPF Decision), commonly referred to as the  EPF Committee, composed of Member State representatives and chaired by a representative of the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council.

In accordance with Rule 113 of the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure, the Foreign Affairs Committee drafted a recommendation on the Union's external policy concerning the European Peace Facility. The AFET Committee approved the recommendations on 20-21 February 2019. Plenary adopted the recommendation on 28 March 2019. In their recommendation, MEPs call for proper parliamentary control over the EPF. MEPs expect the Council and the High Representative to brief them regularly on decisions taken under the EPF and on the Facility's implementation and to take account of Parliament's views when preparing proposals for multi-year action programmes.

On 18 December 2020, the Council reached a political agreement on the European Peace Facility. On 22 March 2021, the Council adopted a decision formally establishing the Facility and the Facility entered into force on the same day. The EPF became operational on 1 July 2021On 30 July 2021, the Council approved a concept note for the first ever EPF-funded assistance measure:  a €4 million assistance measure  for the most urgently required equipment for the EU military training mission on Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique). 

The EPF and the EU military assistance to Ukraine after the Russia's war on Ukraine:

Swiftly reacting to the Russia's invasion of Ukraine launched on 24 February 2022, and responding to a request by Ukraine for military assistance, the Council  adopted on 28 February two assistances measures under the EPF, aimed  at  assisting the Ukrainian Armed Forces with (a)  the supply of military equipment and platforms designed to deliver lethal force, for the first time in EU history,  and (b) the supply of non-lethal military equipment. These two assistance measures are funded from the EPF with an amount of  €500 mn, that the Council doubled on 23 March 2022 with an additional  €500 mn from the EPF to finance two new assistance measures, that were meant to allow the EU to further support the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces  to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and protect the civilian population against the ongoing Russian military aggression. These  new two assistance measures, following the informal European Council meeting in Versailles on 10-11 March 2022, comprise, just as their predecessors, a 'lethal package' (€450 mn) and a 'non-lethal package' (€50 mn).They financed, again, both military equipment and platforms, designed to deliver lethal force for defensive purposes, and non-lethal equipment and supplies, such as personal protective equipment, first aid kits and fuel. On 13 April 2022,  the Council adopted, again, two new  assistance measures under the EPF, with the same amounts as in the previous measures (€450 mn for the 'lethal package' and €50 mn for the  'non-lethal package') and the same objectives (allow the EU to further support the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and protect the civilian population against the ongoing Russian military aggression). On 23 May 2022, the Council decided to add a further €500 million to the resources already mobilized under the EPF for Ukraine, thereby quadrupling the initial budget to €2 billion. The EU has, so far, with this fourth tranche of EPF-funded military assistance measures to Ukraine, approved funds worth €2 billion  since 28 February 2022 for military assistance to Ukraine. This comes in addition to the €31 mn of the former assistance measure to Ukraine, already decided  by the Council on 2 December 2021. 

The European Council of 23-24 June 2022 is expected to decide to continue EU military support to Ukraine.

References: 

Further reading:

Authors: Bruno Bilquin and Beatrix Immenkamp, Members' Research Service, legislative-train@europarl.europa.eu

As of 23/06/2022.
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