The European Peace Facility
On 18 December 2020, EU Member States reached a political agreement on the establishment of the European Peace Facility (EPF). Worth up to € 5 billion for the period 2021-2027, this new funding instrument will finance 'EU external action having military or defence implications'. In practice, the EPF will merge and expand two existing EU off-budget funds: the Athena Mechanism and parts of the African Peace Facility. In addition, it will bring some significant changes, in particular the possibility for the EU to provide military equipment (including weapons and ammunition) to third country armed forces and regional military operations. Many questions remain on the necessity and capability of this new instrument to contribute effectively to increasing human security. Despite the EU’s commitment to put in place ‘thorough risks assessments and strong safeguards’, several civil society organisations (CSOs) have expressed concerns about the possibility for the EU to provide lethal equipment in conflict-affected countries and regions.