Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the EU has provided about €2.5 billion worth of military assistance to Ukraine through the European Peace Facility (EPF), with some of the weapons coming from the EU countries’ stocks (Preussen, 2022). The EPF is a fund of €5 billion financed outside the EU Budget for a period of seven years (2021-2027), established by Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/509 of 22 March 2021 based on Articles 30 and 41 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) (Council of the European Union, 2021).
The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), put into motion by the Maastricht Treaty, was supposed to underpin the EU's actorness and strengthen its defence capabilities. CSDP brings ‘an operational capacity to deploy civilian and military missions abroad’ (EEAS, 2022). Consequently, when it comes to interoperability per se, it should be considered from two perspectives: the technical and 'political' ones. The former envisages enhancing the cooperation among land forces on the ground while the latter grows in reaching coherence, efficiency and, even more critical – solidarity in pursuing the agreed strategy (Strategic Compass, 2022).
On 16 June 2020, the EU Defence Ministers embarked to develop a strategic compass for security and defence. On 6 May 2021, the EU Council Ministers held another meeting, part of a series since 2020, negotiating the format of the legal-political agreement expected to be issued at the end of 2022. The Strategic Compass is seen as one of the most ambitious plans to unify the EU response in Security and Defence. The present analysis aims to briefly describe its novelty, lay down the spirit surrounding such initiative, and identify the challenges ahead. By the end, a few recommendations for boosting the EU action in defence will be provided, such as dormant provisions of the EU Treaties that have not or to a little extent been used but can prove to be imperative.
After much wait and debate, on 19 April, the Council of the European Union has approved a set of conclusions to establish its new Sahel strategy.
In 2019, the military expenditure of the European Union had increased for the fifth year in a row. The EU’s total military expenditure of €186 billion corresponds to 1.4% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product. In the same year, the European Union arms export represented a value of over €5 billion. This makes the EU the third biggest military spender and the second biggest arms exporter in the world.