Written by Bruno Bilquin.
The European Peace Facility (EPF), a financial instrument outside the EU budget that has been operational since July 2021, finances activities with military implications. It funds equipment and training for EU partner countries’ armies, as well as the common costs of EU military missions and operations abroad. It also funds the military component of EU civilian missions or exercises abroad, or of EU support to missions led by other international organisations. One year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its initial ceiling has been increased to allow the EU to continue its military support to Ukraine at a critical stage of the conflict, while simultaneously maintaining and even increasing its military engagement in other regions of its neighbourhood, in the Western Balkans and in Africa.
Since the start of Russia’s war of aggression on 28 February 2022, the EU has mobilised seven successive tranches, of €500 million each, from the EPF. In February 2023, EU military assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces reached a total of €3.6 billion. This assistance, for the first time in EU history, has a strong lethal component (weapons and equipment, including, most recently, tanks) alongside a smaller, although significant, non-lethal component (including protective equipment, other non-lethal supplies, and training). The delivery of military assistance is carried out by the EU Member States; through the EPF, the EU can reimburse Member States for a part of their military deliveries.
The EPF-funded military assistance to Ukraine has absorbed, in the first 12 months of the war, 60 % of the initially planned financial ceiling of the EPF of €5 billion for 2021-2027. Therefore, the Council decided on 13 March to increase that ceiling by €2 billion (in 2018 prices) for 2023, and possibly by an additional €3.5 billion (in 2018 prices) up to 2027, an increase that would more than double the total initial ceiling. On 20 March, in response to Ukraine’s urgent needs and requests, the Council decided to earmark €1 billion from the EPF to partially reimburse Member States for deliveries of ammunition (and missiles if requested) to Ukraine from their stocks, and another €1 billion for the joint procurement of ammunition (and missiles if requested) from the EU and Norwegian defence industries.
The European Parliament consistently and firmly supports the use of the EPF in Ukraine and beyond, and the increase of its ceiling.
Read the complete briefing on ‘European Peace Facility: State of play as of 31 March 2023‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.