Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

European Commission - Fact Sheet

Questions and Answers: Measures in support of security and development in partner countries

Brussels, 7 December 2017

Today's adoption of a legislative proposal tabled by the Commission and the High Representative, amending the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) aims at enhancing the EU's effectiveness in support of stability, security and sustainable development in third countries.

The addition of Capacity Building in support of Security and Development (CBSD), as a new type of assistance, to the IcSP will allow the EU to support partner countries more effectively in building their capacity to prevent and manage crises on their own.

What is the purpose of the Regulation amending the IcSP Regulation?

Regulation (EU) No 230/2014, which establishes an Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) has three components: crisis response, conflict prevention and actions addressing global, trans-regional and emerging threats. This amendment extends the EU's assistance to the military actors of partner countries, under exceptional and clearly defined circumstances, with a sustainable development objective. The initiative is designed to support partner countries to prevent and manage crises on their own, contributing to national and regional stability and allowing for sustainable development, as well as the achievement of peaceful and inclusive societies.

Why is it necessary to provide assistance to the military actors of partner countries?

The European Union subscribed to the internationally agreed United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – and in particular its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on 'peace and justice' – which stresses the link between security and development and underline the importance of just, peaceful and inclusive societies. SDG 16 requests to “strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacities at all levels, in particular in developing countries, for preventing violence and combatting terrorism and crime”.

In some cases, lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity will not be possible without the contribution of the military, which is an integral part of government and institutional setup of states.

The European Council Conclusions of 19/20 December 2013 emphasised “the importance of supporting partner countries and regional organisations, through providing training, advice, equipment and resources where appropriate, so that they can increasingly prevent or manage crises by themselves”.

In April 2015, the European Commission and the High Representative adopted a Joint Communication on capacity building in support of security and development. This Communication identified gaps in the EU's ability to provide support in building the capacities of partners in the security sector. The Joint Communication concluded that there was no EU budget instrument designed to provide comprehensive financing for security capacity building in partner countries, in particular the military component. This hampers the EU's ability to achieve external action objectives, including fostering conditions for peace, human security and sustainable development. Through the amendment of the IcSP this situation should be remedied in the short and medium term.

This assistance will be exceptional:

  • when authorities cannot address a crisis through civilian means;
  • when there is a serious threat to the functioning of State institutions with implications for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and where civilian State institutions cannot cope with this threat;
  • and when there exists a consensus that the involvement of the security sector, and in particular the military, is key for preserving, establishing or re-establishing the conditions essential for sustainable development.

What kind of activities will be financed?

The amendment of the Regulation introduces the possibility of a new type of EU assistance measures, enabling support to enhance partners' capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to crises.

The assistance may cover support to the military in the form of training, mentoring and advice or supply of equipment in pursuit of development objectives such as IT-systems, protective gear, health- or training-related facilities.

Funding of recurrent military expenditure, the provision of arms and ammunition or lethal equipment and training that is designed to contribute to the fighting capacity of the armed forces is completely excluded.

The addition of CBSD to the IcSP aims to promote good governance in the public administration, including the ministries of defence and the armed forces, which are an integral part of the executive branch of government. Activities could include support to enhance efficiency, transparency, accountability, civilian oversight and democratic control of the armed forces, in particular with regard to the legal framework; organisation and administration, including standards and ethics; human resources management (e.g. recruitment, training, remuneration, career development, disciplinary measures, retirement); asset management; financial management, including budget and procurement; internal control and inspection, reporting, audit, judicial oversight, Parliamentary control; public communication, media relations and interaction with civil society.

EU financial support under the CBSD amendment of the IcSP could allow the military to perform development and human security-related tasks, when civilian actors cannot perform them, notably the reconstruction/rehabilitation of civil infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges, schools, hospitals), mine clearing, the removal and disposal of explosive remnants of war and unexploded ordinance, disarmament and demobilisation of ex-combatants, the collection and destruction of small arms and light weapons and civil protection tasks in emergencies.

With regard to specific pieces of equipment and infrastructure upgrade interventions for the military, it may cover IT systems (including software), transport vehicles (for example those for troops or cargo), communication means, uniforms and protective gear, surveillance and mine clearance equipment, training-related equipment and facilities, functional infrastructure (such as buildings, barracks), medical and sport facilities, water and sanitation infrastructure, the power supply, logistic and storage facilities, furniture, and stationery.

CBSD assistance measures should be underpinned by the following principles:

  • ownership by the partner country, alignment to the partner's long-term development strategies, harmonisation of support and coordination of interventions among actors to avoid duplication, focus on results and mutual accountability (development effectiveness principles);
  • respect for human rights and adherence to international law and international humanitarian law;
  • coherence with other EU actions as part of a broader EU comprehensive approach to external conflict and crises.

Why can this support not be financed through our Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)?

CSDP missions or operations and their budgets are not designed to provide equipment to security sector actors of partner countries.

The expenditure for military operations to be financed pursuant to Article 41(2) TEU by the Athena mechanism concerns expenditure arising out of the functioning and the equipment of the EU CSDP missions/operations. CSDP missions provide training to military and civilian security forces of third countries.

Due to the design of the Athena mechanism today, it cannot provide the equipment and help ensure sustainability for training purposes or to follow up on the operationalisation of the defence units the CSDP missions have trained.

Athena as it stands now is not an instrument for the benefit of third parties, including developing countries.

Where would the money come from?

No additional financial resources would be mobilised to operationalise CBSD within the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.

To support our partner countries in providing stability and security for their citizens through CBSD, the IcSP financial envelope will be increased by €100 million for the period 2018-2020, primarily through redeployment within Heading IV (‘the EU as an external actor') of the general budget of the Union, excluding the use of funds allocated to the Development Cooperation Instrument.

Support to health or education or any other development activity will not be diverted. This is not about turning development tools into a militarised approach. It is about using sources of financing in a coherent way and responding effectively to the needs of the population in our partner countries.

Turning this approach into practice will also be important with regard to implementing the Global Strategy with all EU instruments used in complementarity.

For more information

Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace

Council Press release

Regulation proposal for amending Regulation (EU) No 230/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing an Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace

MEMO/17/5127

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


Side Bar