EU approves 5 billion euro facility to train and equip foreign militaries, with Africa a priority


The European Union Council has adopted a decision establishing the European Peace Facility (EPF), an off-budget fund worth approximately €5 billion for the period 2021-2027, to be financed through contributions from EU member states.

The decision was made on 22 March and covers the EU’s external actions that have military or defence implications under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

In a statement released on behalf of the EU Presidency, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said training and equipment will be provided to African countries.

“These measures may include supplying defence and military-related equipment or infrastructure at the request of third countries or regional and international organizations. This assistance will be embedded in a clear, coherent political strategy and will be accompanied by thorough risk assessments and strong safeguards,” the EU said.

“The ultimate aim of the EPF is to enhance the EU’s ability to prevent conflict, preserve peace and strengthen international stability and security. It will do so by allowing the EU to better help partner countries, 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 broader actions of a military/defence nature in support of CFSP objectives,” the EU said.

Until now EU support could only be provided to African-led peace support operations – i.e. operations led by the African Union or by African regional organisations. “This was achieved through the African Peace Facility (AFP). The EPF will overcome this shortcoming and broaden the geographical scope of EU intervention, as the EU will now be able to contribute to the financing of military peace support operations and assistance measures for our partners anywhere in the world,” the EU said.

As a successor to the African Peace Facility, the EPF will retain its focus on helping African military forces to address shared security challenges including terrorism and piracy.

The EU has ongoing peacekeeping and military training programmes in African countries that include Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic.

The Sahel region and Somalia, but also Mozambique, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Libyan coast guard, are among the theatres being considered for support under the EPF.

“Our clear priority for capacity building in 2021 lies on supporting efforts of the EU and Member States to restore security in the Sahel region. … Moreover, and in the framework of our strategic interest in stability and security in the Horn of Africa, we also suggest capacity building measures together with [the EU Training Mission in Somalia],” the EU said.