Questions & Answers: The European Peace Facility
The European Peace Facility is a proposed off-budget fund for the duration of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, designed to prevent conflicts, preserve peace and strengthen international security around the world, for the benefit of our citizens and our partners and their populations.
What is the European Peace Facility?
The European Peace Facility (EPF) is a proposed new off-budget fund potentially worth €5 billion, for a period of seven years coinciding with the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021- 2027. This facility will fill a gap in EU capacities by allowing the financing of all Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) external action with military or defence implications.
The EPF proposal would enhance the scope of common costs for military Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations, to assist partners’ military peace support operations on a global scale and to broaden actions with a military or defence nature, such as capacity building activities for military actors, which can be undertaken under the CFSP.
What is the added value of the EPF?
Up to now, EU military CSDP missions and operations have been financed exclusively through the Athena mechanism and support to partners’ military peace support operations has been limited to African-led operations financed through the African Peace Facility. These off-budget instruments are necessary because the Union’s budget cannot be used to finance expenditure arising from operations having military or defence implications.
The EPF will address the limitations of these instruments. The EPF will cover funding of the common costs of EU military operations and missions and allow support to partners on a global level. Capacity building activities for military actors, and the provision of training, equipment and infrastructure will be enabled through the EPF. This combination will allow the EU to build up the capacity of partners to address crises, prevent conflict and build stability by themselves.
With a value of a planned maximum of €5 billion for the seven-year period of the MFF, the EPF will ensure that EU funding is available on a permanent basis, while allowing for rapid crisis response and provision of other urgent assistance. The objective of the mechanism is thus to close existing gaps in the EU’s toolbox, enabling the EU to do more and to act more swiftly. In this manner, the EPF will maximise the impact, effectiveness and sustainability of overall EU external action in peace and security.
How will the EPF be launched?
The proposal is currently being discussed in the Council. The EPF is a proposal by the High Representative, with support of the Commission. It would be established as a Council Decision under the CFSP. This is a possibility foreseen by Art. 30.1 TEU.
Where will the financing of the EPF come from?
The EPF will be financed through contributions by EU Member States based on a Gross National Income distribution key.
How big will the budget of the EPF be?
The proposal by the High Representative, with the support of the Commission, for an off-budget European Peace Facility (EPF) to finance all Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) external action with military or defence implications remains unchanged. It is currently discussed by Member States in the Council, with a budget of up to €5 billion agreed in the July 2020 European Council.
Will the European Peace Facility replace existing instruments, such as the Athena mechanism or the African Peace Facility?
The EPF proposal builds on the African Peace Facility and the Athena mechanism and would provide support that is currently partly covered by these financing instruments. The EPF would thus continue to finance African-led peace support operations, such as AMISOM or the G5 Sahel Joint Force, while at the same time catering for common costs of CSDP military missions and operations, which are currently financed through the Athena mechanism.
How will it differ from other instruments under the new MFF?
The EPF is an off-budget fund that covers costs that are currently not covered under the EU budget. Other defence-related instruments under the MFF (such as the European Defence Fund) will contribute to develop Member States defence capabilities and thereby increase their overall capability.
Who will manage the EPF?
As a CFSP instrument, its implementation will be ensured by the High Representative (HR), with the support of the European External Action Service (EEAS). For the purposes of financial administration, the HR will be assisted also by the Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI).
An EPF Committee composed of Member States representatives will manage the EPF, in particular budgets and accounts.
Who decides on programmes and projects that will be implemented through the EPF?
The EPF would simplify and streamline previously different funding arrangements. Actions funded by the Facility will be decided by the Council or the Political and Security Committee, acting by unanimity on the basis of proposals from the High Representative.
All actions under the EPF will be undertaken in full respect of obligations under international law, in particular human rights and international humanitarian law. Oversight mechanisms will be established.
This new facility would allow the EU to better support partners in dealing with shared security challenges, either by supporting their peace-keeping operations or by helping increase the capability of their armed forces to ensure peace and security on their national territory, as well as through military CSDP missions and operations.