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Summaries of EU Legislation

Financing European Union military and defence operations (Athena)

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Financing European Union military and defence operations (Athena)


Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/528 — funding the common costs of EU operations with military or defence implications (Athena)



It establishes a mechanism to manage the funding of the common costs of EU operations having military or defence implications (Athena).

Athena is not for profit and has the necessary legal capacity to, among other things, enter into contracts and be a party to legal proceedings.


The decision-making body of Athena is the Special Committee, which comprises 1 representative from each of the 27 EU countries that contribute to the financing of EU military operations (Denmark is exempt from defence-related activities in the EU context).

3 management bodies exist under the special committee:

the Administrator, who draws up draft budgets (which are submitted to the Special Committee) and implements the Special Committee’s decisions;

the Operation Commander who, among other things, sends expenditure proposals to the Administrator;

the Accounting Officer.

This decision defines the eligible costs of joint financing by Athena depending on the phase of the operation, which is defined in its annexes:

Annex I — the common costs covered by Athena whenever they are incurred;

Annex II — costs incurred from the preparatory phase of operations (e.g. exploratory missions or emergency medical evacuation when medical treatment cannot be provided on the spot);

Annex III — costs incurred from the active phase of operations, etc. (e.g. costs of headquarters of EU-led operations, transport, barracks and lodging or communications).

Each year, the Administrator proposes the draft budget for the following year to the Special Committee. This is drawn up with the support of each operation commander. It must include a forecast of revenue to cover expenditure as well as financial allocations to cover:

common costs incurred in preparation for operations;

costs for ongoing or planned operations.

Examples of operations benefiting from Athena financing include:

EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Eunavfor Atalanta (Horn of Africa);

EUMAM RCA (Central African Republic).


From 27 March 2015.


The Council of the EU adopted the first document (10155/02) on the financing of the EU-led crisis-management operations in 2002. Meanwhile, Council Decision 2004/197/CFSP first created the Athena mechanism. That decision was amended several times and was finally replaced in 2015 by Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/528.

See also the Council of the European Union’s website: Athena — financing security and defence military operations.


Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/528 of 27 March 2015 establishing a mechanism to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications (Athena) and repealing Decision 2011/871/CFSP (OJ L 84, 28.3.2015, pp. 39-63)

last update 16.11.2015