TEPSA Brief: “European Peace Facility: from a conflict prevention tool to a defender of security and geopolitical interests”, Tyyne Karjalainen and Katariina Mustasilta

The use of the European Peace Facility (EPF) to support Ukraine has changed its broader framing within the EU. The joint financing and risk sharing has encouraged national decision makers to open stocks of defence material and enabled a level of European ownership for the Ukraine-aid. Breaking of taboos catalyses questions regarding the EU’s security partnerships beyond Ukraine.

Since it was first initiated by the former High Representative Federica Moghereni in December 2017, the European Peace Facility (EPF) has come a long way. Once an initiative that received considerable criticism for its feared militarising effect and its risks in fragile states and conflict situations, the facility has lately become the flagship of the EU’s common support to Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s invasion. Thus far, €4,6 billion of military support has been allocated to the Ukrainian armed forces and the EU’s training mission in Ukraine, including varying military equipment and platforms and ammunition. The EU’s decision to finance lethal materiel to a partner for the first time in history was reached in a process noteworthy of its speed, only a few days after the start of the full-scale invasion. 

Because of the major need, the total budget ceiling for the instrument has been increased from €5 billion to €7.9 billion for 2021–2027 and will likely be further pumped up in order to continue the support to Ukraine whilst keeping the instrument’s global outreach intact. As decisions on lethal aid to be financed to other partners are expected to be taken soon, the use of the full potential of the off-budget instrument will move from the phase of breaking taboos to a phase of establishing new means within the EU’s CSDP tools and its global agency.