Assoc. Prof. Aleksandar Chavleski, PhD, Assist. Prof. Anita Gligorova, PhD
FINANCING EU MILITARY OPERATIONS: THE ATHENA MECHANISM
On 23 February 2004, the Council adopted Decision 2004/197/CFSP establishing a mechanism to administer the financing of the common costs of Union operations having military or defence implications. The Decision was amended by the Council Decision 2011/871/CFSP, and more recently, in 2015 the Council adopted a new Decision regarding the ATHENA mechanism. The structure for financing EU external action is flexible and fragmented: CSDP operations are not entirely budgetized; the administrative costs for the CSDP institutional framework are borne by the CFSP budget, but the operational costs for the different CSDP missions/operations are borne by different mechanisms. Operations having military and defence implications are financed directly by the participating Member States and particularly via the specific mechanism – ATHENA. Such fragmentation does not provide for coherence of EU external action nor continuous/stable financing of EU military operations.
Mostly, Athena finances the costs incurred for the headquarters, some types of infrastructure works, medical services, satellite imagery, transport to and from the theatre of operations for deployment. The 2018 saw a significant ambition to overcome the problems of financing the common costs via the establishment of the European Peace Facility (EPF) which will replace and supersede the Athena mechanism and the APF and will significantly broaden the percentage of the costs covered for a wide range of CSDP operations/missions. The proposal for establishing an EPF is currently under discussion.
This article will give brief historical-institutional overview of the workings of the ATHENA mechanism and will offer an insight in the newest developments in this field and assess their possible impact in the future.