- EU funding for the military under exceptional circumstances
- Support to build hospitals, but not to buy weapons
MEPs agree to allocate 100 million euros to support civilian tasks performed by the military in third countries by beefing up the EU fund for stability and peace.
MEPs approved the informal deal clinched by Parliament and Council negotiators last month ( 473 votes to 163, with 7 abstentions), which for the first time, will allow the EU Fund for Stability and Peace, which covers projects in 70 countries, to finance the military in partner countries to deliver development activities. Support for the military has until now always been excluded, even though in some cases it is the only body capable of restoring security and basic services.
However, this funding will only be possible if the partner country and the EU agree that the military are key to preserving peace or overcoming a crisis and civilian forces are deemed not able to cope with the challenge.
Training, mentoring and advising military forces in countries outside the EU on topics such as human rights or protecting women and children, as well as the provision of non-lethal equipment or infrastructure, such as IT systems or hospitals, will now be eligible for EU support.
Under no conditions can EU support be given to building up foreign armies, buying weapons or training in combat techniques.
MEPs secured a commitment to keep the Parliament duly informed about the implementation of the new rules, and asked the Commission to assess the impact and effectiveness of the EU external assistance fund by June 2020.
They also convinced the Council and the Commission not to use EU development money to finance new tasks, but to use other sources available under the EU foreign affairs budget.
Parliament’s co-rapporteur Arnaud Danjean (EPP, FR) said: “This is the missing link for the EU in terms of security and peace instruments. We have missions working with armed forces in certain developing countries, providing training, but which don’t have the legal and financial tools to provide non-lethal equipment, that would allow armed forces to support development activities in countries like Mali, Somalia, Niger or Central African Republic. This instrument is not designed for purchasing or delivering arms, but building hospitals or developing communication systems.”
The Instrument contributing to Peace and Stability started out in 2014 with a budget of EUR 2.3 billion for 2014-2020, replacing the Instrument for Stability and several other instruments that focused on drugs, landmines, displaced people, crisis management, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Projects funded under the instrument include a sea water desalination plant in the Gaza strip, the training of civilian experts for crisis management missions and the deradicalisation of young people in Bangladesh.