Facilitating the movement of military troops and assets is essential for the security of European citizens, and to build a more effective, responsive and joined-up Union, as identified in the joint communication of the European Commission and the High Representative Joint Communication on improving military mobility in the EU from November 2017 and called for in the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy.
Improving military mobility also became part of the PESCO commitments, as established in December 2017, and at project level - with a separate PESCO project. It is also a major deliverable under the EU - NATO Joint Declaration.
Against this background, a dedicated Action Plan on Military Mobility adopted jointly by the European Commission and the High Representative in 2018, identifies a series of operational measures to tackle physical, procedural or regulatory barriers, which hamper military mobility within the EU. The Commission is working closely with the EU Member States and all relevant actors, which is key for the implementation of this Action Plan.
The Action Plan identified concrete actions in the following areas:
- Military requirements: The development of military requirements for transport infrastructure and geographical data is the starting point for an effective and coordinated approach to military mobility across the EU. The European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU Military Staff have developed military requirements, which reflect the needs of the EU and its Member States, including the infrastructure needed for military mobility.
- Transport infrastructure: Infrastructure policy and investments offer opportunities for more synergies between civilian and military needs. The Commission identified the parts of the trans-European transport network suitable for military transport, including necessary upgrades of existing infrastructure (e.g. the height or the weight capacity of bridges). A priority list of projects is being drawn up. The Commission will take into account possible additional financial support for these projects in the new multiannual financial framework.
- Regulatory and procedural issues: The Commission is working on streamlining and simplifying customs formalities for military operations and is assessing the need to align rules for the transport of dangerous goods in the military domain. In parallel, the European Defence Agency will support Member States in developing arrangements on cross-border movement permissions.
DG DEFIS coordinates the Commission’s activities contributing to improved military mobility within Europe and leads on the implementation of the Action Plan on Military Mobility.
In October 2020, the Commission and the High Representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy jointly issued the second progress Report on the implementation of the Action Plan on Military Mobility from June 2019 to September 2020. DG DEFIS closely cooperated with EEAS/MOVE. In September 2021, the third joint progress report was presented.