Open Letter on the European Peace Facility

Wethen, 11 October 2019 – Church and Peace and 17 organisations criticise the draft for a so-called European Peace Facility in an open letter to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. They call on the German Federal Government to commit itself in the ongoing negotiations to changes to the Facility, which is to finance military operations as well as training and equipping the armies of third countries with around €10.5 billion from 2021 onwards.

Read the open letter in English here:

11 October 2019

Open Letter on the European Peace Facility

Dear Foreign Minister,

We are deeply concerned about the proposal for a European Peace Facility, which is currently being negotiated by the Member States of the European Union. Our concerns particularly relate to measures to train and equip the armies of third countries. The term ‘Peace Facility’ chosen for a budget exclusively intended to finance military training, equipment and deployment is, in our view, inappropriate and misleading.

How the new facility will contribute to peace is not clear to us. On the contrary, it poses considerable risks to peace, to the security of civilians and to human rights.

Military training and equipment aid have a poor track record. These programmes often strengthen governments that have no democratic legitimacy themselves and do not abide by human rights instruments or feel bound by the rule of law. Such programmes may likewise boost security forces that are themselves parties to conflicts. It is difficult to monitor the whereabouts of weapons and military equipment once they have been delivered, and there is evidence that they also fall into the hands of other armed actors.

Experience to date with such ‘upgrading measures’ gives us reason to fear that the European Union will use this facility – according to the present draft – to supply and finance military equipment for repressing civil society and against the civilian population. The EU would thus contradict the spirit of its Common Position on arms exports.

That is why, in the negotiations on the ‘European Peace Facility’, we urge you to advocate for the following changes to the current draft:

  • Explicitly excluding the financing and supply of weapons, ammunition and other combat equipment;
  • Always giving precedence to civilian programmes over military means within the framework of the planned European Facility and using them in all phases of a conflict;
  • Not allowing human security to be subordinated to the objective of stabilising regimes; as primary objectives, promoting the security of the civilian population and protecting citizens from repression and human rights violations.

The European Union has a wealth of experience and the necessary resources to influence conflicts and sustainably promote peace. Instead of developing new military programmes under the pretext of promoting peace it should expand its tried-and-tested civil conflict transformation programmes.

In this spirit, we kindly request you, Foreign Minister, to press strongly for these changes in the negotiations on this European Facility.

Yours faithfully