Since 2014, and the resurgence of tensions with Russia, the need to ensure the rapid movement of military forces and equipment across Europe has re-emerged.
Military Mobility in Europe, a PESCO project, was on the agenda at the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence on 8 October.
There are three priority areas for the EU and NATO in connection with military mobility: transport corridors for heavy equipment, adequate infrastructure for its transport and the review of regulatory standards that block the rapid movement of troops and equipment across borders. In the next multiannual financial framework for the period 2021-2027, the EU has planned to finance military mobility with EUR 6.5 billion.
Military Mobility is seen as a win-win initiative that favours integrating EU defence into the development of infrastructure for civilian use more closely. Many projects to be used for civilian purposes, such as civilian transport networks, will therefore be financed with "military" money, and will benefit greatly from this initiative.
“The EU guarantees free movement of people, goods, services and capital. Our security and defence must also rely on free movement of military units and equipment. Military mobility is a good example of how a PESCO project can support both a NATO priority and European strategic autonomy”, said the EP’s Security and Defence Committee Chair Nathalie Loiseau.
25 member states participate in the Permanent Structural Cooperation (PESCO), an EU instrument aimed at deepening defence industry and research cooperation among interested member states. There are 34 projects currently in place and, by November, there should be just under 50 PESCO projects.
Since 2014, Russia's manoeuvres in the vicinity of the EU and NATO and the multiple incursions into airspace or maritime space has prompted NATO to develop a new policy of capacity building in the east (Poland, Romania, the Baltics) to be ready for a rapid response.
SEDE Committee MEPs exchanged views on military mobility with Franck Desit, Deputy Director, Capability, Armament and Planning Directorate, European Defence Agency, Arnout Molenaar, Head of the Security and Defence Policy Division, EEAS and Jean-Louis Colson, Head of Unit “Transport Networks”, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission.
The next SEDE meeting will be held in Brussels 12 November 2019.