New European Peace Facility meets civil society resistance

EUTM forces involved in a training session in Mali EUTM forces involved in a training session in Mali Orban Daniel/BE Defense

18 November 2020                     

The European Peace Facility as it stands will fuel further human right abuses, 40 civil society organizations warn

On 18 November 2020, European Union (EU) Member States’ ambassadors debated on the establishment of a European Peace Facility (EPF), designed to finance all the external actions with military and defence implications under the framework of EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The instrument, an off-budget fund placed outside the common EU budget, should enable CFSP actions to be financed through yearly national contributions. In practice, through this expedient EU Member States could circumvent the prohibition to sponsor EU defence and military operations through the common EU budget. According to a multitude of  civil society organizations (CSOs) the danger of surge in human rights abuses lurks behind the aim of safeguarding EU security interests and preventing conflicts. 

Following the EPF discussions, widely known CSOs such as Oxfam, AMDH, Concordis, Saferworld and another 36 signed a joint statement to warn that “the proposed facility not only fails to address the root causes of conflict, but also risks fuelling violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, while increasing the risk of harm to civilians overall”. The CSOs signatories called EU Member States to incorporate internal safeguards within EPF talks. Concretely, they must improve conflict prevention and civilian harm prevention and mitigation; exclude the transfer of lethal weapons from the proposal; and adopt a due diligence framework to ensure the facilities’ activities are conducted in accordance with international law. Aside from civil society reservations, Ireland announced it will pull out of the EPF project.


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Author: Gianmarco Italia; Editor: Barbara Caltabiano

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