EU builds towards more “hard power” influence abroad

For the first time in its existence, the EU will use its power to send military aid and equipment to foreign conflicts. The Financial Times reports that the €5bn “Europe Peace Facility” fund reflects the ambition to build more “hard power” and is to increase the EU’s influence in international conflicts. 

The EU ensures potential recipients of the fund’s money, governments, regional and international organizations, will be screened with scrutiny. Yet, several non-governmental organizations have expressed their concerns. They believe the money might fuel war and right abuses in conflict areas and question the “militarization” of the EU’s foreign policy. 

Although the member states politically agreed on moving ahead with the fund, the formal approval is expected in 2021. The fund should make the EU a “more effective and responsive global security provider”, and will allow the bloc to sustain its overseas security and defence missions with the “supply of military and defence-related equipment, infrastructure or assistance” if requested. The initiative is another step in creating more instruments for the EU to influence its direct “neighbourhood”, especially North-Africa and the Sahel region. The fund allows the EU to fund their partners directly with arms and ammunition, which will be embedded in “a clear and coherent political strategy and will be accompanied by thorough risk assessments”.