Written by Beatrix Immenkamp.
A key objective of the EU’s external action is to preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. In the context of its common foreign and security policy (CFSP), the Union offers assistance to third states, international organisations and regional organisations engaged in peace support operations. Moreover, the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP) – part of the CFSP – provides the Union with its own operational capacity, allowing it to deploy civilian and military assets (provided by the EU Member States) in third countries. While many of the operations and missions the EU supports have military and defence implications, the EU cannot finance activities with military or defence implications from the EU budget. EU Member States therefore have mechanisms to fund expenditure with military and defence implications directly from national budgets.
The European Peace Facility (EPF) is a new off-budget fund with a financial ceiling of €5.692 billion financed by Member State contributions. The EPF, which will be operational by 1 July 2021, will make it easier for Member States to share the costs of EU military operations. It will also help the EU to support military peace-support operations conducted by third countries and regional organisations, anywhere in the world. Controversially, for the first time, the EU will be able to provide the armed forces of partner countries with infrastructure and equipment, including weapons. Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have warned that the new facility risks fuelling conflict and human rights abuses around the world. They warn that this could exacerbate violence and arms proliferation, and fuel the very dynamics the EPF seeks to address. By contrast, practitioners believe the facility will ensure that the EU is taken seriously as a security provider and is able to maintain its influence in conflict areas. The Council has called for swift operationalisation of the EPF and has invited Member States and the High Representative to present proposals for assistance measures.
Read this briefing on ‘European Peace Facility: Promoting peace or fuelling conflict?‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.