The European Peace Facility (EPF) is a proposed new off-budget fund worth €10.5 billion, for a period of seven years coinciding with the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021- 2027. This facility will allow 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, that can be undertaken under the CFSP.
The EU Treaty (Art. 41.2 TEU) does not allow for the Union’s budget to finance expenditure with military or defence implications. Up to until 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 through the African Peace Facility.
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 €10.5 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.
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.
The EPF will be financed through contributions by EU Member States based on a Gross National Income distribution key.
A proposed ceiling of €10.5 billion for the EPF over a period of seven years coinciding with the next Multiannual Financial Framework reflects the substantially increased needs that derive from the EU’s challenging external environment.
The EPF 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.
The EPF is an off-budget fund that covers costs that cannot be 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.
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 by the Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI).
On a day-to-day basis, an EPF Committee, composed of Member States representatives and chaired by a representative of the High Representative, will manage the EPF, in particular budgets and accounts.
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 as appropriate.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini launched the idea of 'a new European Peace Facility, financed and managed together with Member States during her speech at the “Building on vision, forward to action: delivering on EU security and defence” event in December 2017. 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.
The Communication by the European Commission on 'A new, modern MFF for a EU that delivers efficiently on its priorities post-2020' of 14 February builds on this, referencing a 'separate funding mechanism of around € 10 billion for the 2021-2027 period [that] would significantly increase the EU's ability to financially support operations with defence implications. This would compare to up to € 3.5 billion under the current period.'
For more information
 The Africa Peace Facility is today financed from the extra-budgetary European Development Fund. The Athena mechanism is also an off-budget financing arrangement established by the Council for the financing of the common costs of military CSDP operations
 To note that the EUR 3.5bn figure is an extrapolation of maximum annual spend on the APF and Athena mechanism over recent years, rather than average annual spending figures which would be lower.