Written by Jacopo Maria Bosica
Edited by Miguel Andres Reyes Castro
On 26 June, 2023, EU ministers adopted a decision to raise the financial ceiling of the European Peace Facility (EPF) by an additional €3.5 billion. This is the second top-up in only six months, with the first one (worth €2 billion) being agreed upon on 12 December, 2022 (Council of the EU, 2022) and operationalised on 13 March this year. As commented upon by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, this step provides the Union with the necessary funding to remain steadfast in “delivering concrete military support to our partners’ armed forces” (Council of the EU, 2023).
The EPF was established on 22 March, 2021) as an off-budget instrument with the aim to bolster the EU’s capabilities as far as conflict prevention, peace-building, and strengthening and maintenance of international peace and security are concerned (Council of the EU, 2021a). The EPF took over the previously existing Athena Mechanism and the African Peace Facility, although without breaking up with their operational legacy. Moreover, it has preserved Athena’s cost-sharing mechanism and governance system (European Parliamentary Research Service, 2022). Finally, it has kept the financing of military activities in Africa in place (European Parliamentary Research Service, 2022), most notably comprising the €130-million assistance measure in the form of a general programme to support the African Union (Council of the EU, 2021b).
The EPF initially had a ceiling of €5 billion according to 2018 prices (€5.692 billion in current ones), which would be devoted to provide financial support to operations with military or defence implications under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) framework, covering the 2021-2027 period (Council of the EU, n.d.). However, in virtue of the two aforementioned top-ups, the overall financial ceiling has now been brought to €12 billion in current prices (Council of the EU, n.d.). In particular, the latest increase was made necessary by the fact that 92% of the previously available funds had already been committed in 2023 (Council of the EU, 2023).
In the end, as summed up by HR/VP Borrell, the EPF has transformed the means to deliver defence support to EU partners (Council of the EU, 2023). From this viewpoint, the decision on June 26 can be read as a decisive statement about the EU’s commitment to prevent and swiftly respond to crises and armed conflicts on a global scale (Council of the EU, 2023). This commitment must be contextualised within the unwavering military and financial support to Ukrainian Armed Forces to counter the full-scale invasion of Ukraine’s territory (Council of the EU, 2023).
Council of the EU. (n.d). European Peace Facility. Council of the EU. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/european-peace-facility/.
Council of the EU. (2021a, 24 March). Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/509 of 22 March 2021 establishing a European Peace Facility, and repealing Decision (CFSP) 2015/528, ST/5212/2021/INIT, OJ L 102, pp. 14-62. Council of the EU. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32021D0509.
Council of the EU. (2021b, 23 July). Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/1210 of 22 July 2021 on an assistance measure taking the form of a general programme for support to the African Union under the European Peace Facility in 2021, ST/10255/2021/INIT, OJ L 263, pp. 7-12. Council of the EU. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32021D1210.
Council of the EU. (2022, 12 December). European Peace Facility: Council agrees €2 billion increase of the financial ceiling in 2023. Council of the EU. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/12/12/european-peace-facility-council-agrees-2-billion-increase-of-the-financial-ceiling-in-2023/.
Council of the EU. (2023, 26 June). European Peace Facility: Council agrees on second top-up of the overall financial ceiling by €3.5 billion. Council of the EU. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2023/06/26/european-peace-facility-council-agrees-on-second-top-up-of-the-overall-financial-ceiling-by-3-5-billion/?utm_source=dsms-auto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=European+Peace+Facility%3a+Council+agrees+on+second+top-up+of+the+overall+financial+ceiling+by+%u20ac3.5+billion.
European Parliamentary Research Service. (2022, 7 February). The European Peace Facility: A new tool in action. European Parliamentary Research Service. https://epthinktank.eu/2022/02/07/the-european-peace-facility-a-new-tool-in-action/.