The Integrated Methodological Framework (IMF) for assistance measures under the European Peace Facility (EPF) sets out guiding principles and possible concerns to be addressed when assisting partners in the military and defence areas in pursuit of the objectives of the EU Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) and of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It specifically addresses the issue of compliance, as well as control and accompanying measures, in relation to assistance measures.

What are the key principles underpinning the Integrated Methodological Framework?

  1. Compliance with all relevant legal instruments and best practices based on national, international, and EU rules, standards and policies in the area of the supply of military equipment, and respect for international law, including international human rights law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by the beneficiary. This includes compliance with all Union, national and applicable international arms export control laws and with the international standards established by the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), including by the beneficiary.
  2. Protection of the EU and of local populations, which underscores the need for robust, qualitative, informed risk assessments of destination contexts and end-users ahead of decisions on transfers, based on the understanding that transfers to conflict or emergency contexts pose heightened risks;
  3. Proportionality, so that only the necessary amount of goods/equipment is transferred in the context of an assistance measure, to avoid the risk of destabilising accumulations in sensitive contexts;
  4. d) Post-delivery controls, to the extent required in the relevant provisions of the Council decision establishing the EPF, subsequent Council decisions on assistance measures and by the relevant exporting States’ policy.

The IMF will be applied in a proportionate and risk sensitive manner. Political oversight, assessment, conditions and control will allow for a tailored-made approach according to specific circumstances.

At the same time, beneficiary’s commitments, monitoring and control measures should be mandatory, proportionate and developed on a case-by-case basis. Context analysis will consider, in addition to the risks of providing any particular kind of assistance, thorough considerations on the risks raised by inaction, which might be far greater.


What is the process?

The methodological framework is a robust process with guidelines and points to be examined, on a case-by-case basis, and in a sound and proportionate manner according to the specifics of each assistance measure. It ensures the identification risks and benefits, as well as provisions designed to prevent diversion or abuse of equipment.

The IMF comprises a number of elements including a context sensitive analysis, verification of compliance, identification of control measures and required commitments from the beneficiary, as well as identification of post-delivery monitoring and control requirements. It follows a two-phase approach.

Phase 1: Assessment of the context of a given EPF assistance measure

The first phase will consist of two-steps:  

  1. Overall assessment and conflict analysis: This concerns a review of analyses and risk assessments conducted in the framework of the other EU activities as well as a conflict analysis screening.
  2. Impact assessment of the foreseen assistance measure on the situation on the ground.


Phase 2: Verification of compliance and identification of required control measures to implement a foreseen EPF assistance measure

This phase will address the specific features linked to the provision of equipment to military and defence actors.

The Council will elaborate arrangements on the commitments to respect specific conditions in dialogue with each beneficiary. These conditions should, as required, be set out in the Council Decision approving the assistance measure, including those necessary to allow for the delivery of military items.

When including supply of military equipment and technology, EPF assistance measures should seek to improve the governance and hands-on management of conventional ammunitions and arms by the beneficiary country, in line with international best practices. Specific complementary measures could be implemented either by the EPF, under other EU instruments, by EU Member States and/or by international organisations, or by other partners.[1] They should also contribute to the overall arms control effort by promoting the implementation of related international standards.

In practice, this will include, inter alia:

  • Identification and assessment of the potential risks and benefits associated with the provision of equipment to military and defence actors;
  • Compliance with export control criteria;
  • Respect of international law, in particular IHRL and IHL;
  • Detailed appraisal of the beneficiary country context, including absorption capacity;
  • Physical security and stockpile management (PSSM);
  • Traceability: for instance, sensitive equipment provided through the EPF shall be marked according to international standards prior to delivery, with import markings identifying the end-user and traceability of most sensitive items throughout the lifecycle of the item;
  • Stockpile management and reduction: EPF assistance could be conditioned on the disposal excessive stocks;
  • Ownership, Sustainability and Preservation of EPF-provided equipment.

[1] Such measures might comprise, for instance, political dialogue or specific assistance programmes.

How will you implement this methodology?

Responding to a beneficiary request for assistance, the Council will apply tailor-made provisions to each beneficiary and kind of assistance.

The beneficiary will be asked to commit accordingly to the requirements established by the Council. In particular, the beneficiary will have to engage to respect relevant international laws and standards, on the appropriate use and on the non-transfer to another user than the one agreed by the Council.

The beneficiary will also have to agree on the monitoring and control measures as decided by the Council.

After delivery, the EEAS, on behalf of the High Representative, and as directed by the Council, will ensure monitoring and control. According to the kind of equipment, this may last over the whole life cycle.

As required, specific measures will be implemented to avoid diversion or disappearance.

What happens if the recipient does not respect the conditions?

In case of any breach and infringement of commitments by the beneficiary, in particular in the case of confirmed or suspected violation of the IHR and IHRL by the beneficiary, loss of equipment, evolution of the local political setting, etc., provisions are in place in the EPF Council Decision for the suspension, and potentially the termination of the assistance measure if the beneficiary does not take remedial action as required by the Council. Notably, in urgent cases, the High Representative also has the capacity to provisionally suspend an assistance measure.

After the conclusion of the assistance measure, commitments and conditions will continue to be applicable. Infringements of commitments will lead to appropriate EU reactions as decided by the Council.

Respect for commitments will be subject to monitoring by the EEAS, by EU Delegations. Sources of information on possible infringement to commitments, in particular violation of IHRL and IHL, can include, as appropriate, Member States embassies and agencies, international organisations, other partner countries, international humanitarian organisations and civil society

The EEAS will also ensure regional and country monitoring at both HQ and field level. This monitoring and early awareness from local actors will contribute to preventive diplomatic action when observing possible degradations in the country context and possible increased risk of violation of commitments.