The European Union (EU) has launched a $5.95bn off-budget fund to help preserve international peace, boost stability and security, and stop conflict.

Called the European Peace Facility (EPF), the new instrument will finance the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) actions that have military / defence implications.

The fund is for a period of seven-year 2021-2027. It will be financed through contributions from member states of the EU.

Portugal Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva said: “Lasting peace can only be built by investing in international stability and security.

“The EU has the willingness and, as of today, the right financial tools to do so. The European Peace Facility will allow us to tangibly support our partner countries in addressing shared security challenges.”

The EPF is aimed at enhancing the EU’s ability to ‘prevent conflict, preserve peace and strengthen international stability and security’.

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For the first time, the EPF facility will allow the EU to complement the activities of its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions with assistance measures.

These measures may include the supply of military and defence related equipment, infrastructure or assistance on request by countries, or regional or international organisations.

Since 2004, the EU’s engagement in CSDP military missions have been funded through the ATHENA mechanism. This will now be replaced by EPF.

The European Peace facility, which is currently in force, will improve common costs. It will enable more rapid deployment, enhanced flexibility and predictability.