Financing security and defence military operations
What is Athena?
Athena is a mechanism which handles the financing of common costs relating to EU military operations under the EU's common security and defence policy (CSDP). It operates on behalf of the 27 EU member states who contribute to the financing of EU military operations (Denmark has opted out of CSDP on military matters). Athena was set up by the Council of the European Union on 1 March 2004.
5 active EU military operations currently benefit from Athena financing:
- EUFOR ALTHEA
- EUNAVFOR ATALANTA
- EUTM SOMALIA
- EUTM MALI
- EUFOR RCA
Athena manages the financing of common costs for these operations, such as transport, infrastructure and medical services, as well as the nation borne costs, which include lodging, fuel, and similar costs linked to national contingents.
Athena is managed by an administrator and under the authority of a Special Committee made up of representatives from the member states contributing to the financing of each operation.
Previous operations funded by Athena
Athena also financed the following operations/support actions, which have now ended:
- AMIS 2 (Sudan) (June 2005 - December 2007)
- EUFOR RD CONGO (June - November 2006)
- EUFOR TCHAD RCA (January 2008 - March 2009)
- EUFOR Libya (April - November 2011)
How do member states contribute to Athena?
The rules on contributions to Athena are set out in article 41.2 of the Treaty on the European Union. Member states contribute an annual share based on their Gross National Income.
What does Athena finance?
Athena can finance the common costs of EU military operations.
In all cases, these costs are:
- HQ implementation and running costs, including travel, IT systems, administration, public information, locally hired staff, Force Headquarters (FHQ) deployment & lodging
- For forces as a whole, infrastructure, medical services (in theatre), medical evacuation, identification, acquisition of information (satellite images)
- Reimbursements to/from NATO or other organisations (e.g. the UN)
If the Council so decides, Athena can also finance costs relating to the transport and lodging of forces, and multinational headquarters below FHQ level.
When requested by the Operation Commander and approved by the Special Committee, Athena may also finance the following:
- Barracks and lodging/infrastructure, essential additional equipment, medical services, acquisition of information (theatre level intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, including air to ground surveillance & reconnaissance and human intelligence).
- Other critical theatre-level capabilities (demining, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protection, storage and destruction of weapons)
Athena may also pre-finance other expenditure relating to an operation, particularly in the area of real-life support. Specific financial rules apply to all the expenditure financed through the Athena mechanism.
Athena's financial rules
Athena's financial rules are set by the Special Committee. Specific rules apply to the different areas of eligible expenditure, and to recruitment and procurement under Athena.