Tuesday

21st Aug 2018

EU plan to improve army logistics across Europe

  • An EU battlegroup exercise. Some road and rail infrastructures need upgrade for heavy military equipment (Photo: Public Affairs Office)

The European Commission launched on Wednesday (28 March) a plan to improve military mobility between member states, as part of a wider effort to step up its defence capacities.

The debate over Europe's ability to project troops on and across its territory was launched by the US and Nato in 2014 after Russia's invasion of Crimea.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"We must be able to quickly deploy troops," EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said at a press conference, adding that the plan was "one of very practical steps towards a fully-fledged defence union by 2025."

"I really hope this will never happen," she said about the need to move troops across Europe in response to a threat.

"But I don't want to be surprised," she added. "We try to ensure that in case things need to be activated, we can do it."

Under the plan, the commission, the member states and the European Defence Agency will define the military requirements, including the definition of infrastructure needed, and identify how they fit with current regulations.

The aim is to be able, by the end of next year, to draw up a list of "dual-use" projects to improve infrastructure that could used both for civilian and military transport.

A pilot analysis conducted last year showed that standards for road bridges or railroads were different between member states. Some bridges, for example, could not support oversized or over-weighted military vehicles, and some rails had an insufficient loading capacity.

The effort to update infrastructures for military will be part of an ongoing plan to create nine east-west and north-south 'core network corridors' to be completed by 2030.

Bulc noted that while €500bn was needed to complete the corridors, additional costs to adapt them to the military requirements will depend on the needs still to be identified.

"At this point, we're not aware of the amount of money we are talking about," she said. "We have all member states on board. How far and how deep this will go, member states will decide."

In addition to developing infrastructure, the commission also plans to simplify administrative procedures such as customs and VAT declarations, or authorisation for the transportation of dangerous goods.
 
"We are looking at harmonising fragmented national rules," Bulc said, noting that the current situation "creates an opportunity cost of at least €30bn."

The plan "very clearly states what needs to be done," Daniel Fiott, an analyst at the EU Institute for Securities Studies, told EUobserver.

The pressure to move forward has increased since the election of Donald Trump as US president and his calls for Europeans to upgrade their defence capacities.

EU plan, not Nato

Bulc stressed however that the mobility plan was "part of the EU defence strategy, not Nato."

"It has been a US request for many years, but it has been recognised by Europeans as a real problem," Fiott pointed out.

Since Brexit, and as part of the global effort to relaunch the European project, the EU has established a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), with 17 projects involving 25 countries.

Among the 17 projects, "mobility is the one with the most countries involved," Fiott noted.

Referring to the strategic challenge posed by Russia, he said that the rationale for the effort was "quite clear".

And he said eastern EU countries may "have a higher need" for such infrastructure investment.

"Maps show that there is a high intensity of transport linkages in eastern Europe, but the question is how modernised they are," he said.

But as troops would be moving all across Europe, he said, the problem "needs to be tackled by all member states."

Investigation

EU Commission paying too much for iPhones and IT

EUobserver has obtained internal documents and emails from within the European Commission that outline questionable contracts with outside suppliers who appear to be overcharging for goods and services.

News in Brief

  1. Italy allows boat with migrants to dock
  2. France's Total pulls out of Iran due to US sanctions
  3. Trump accuses EU and China of currency manipulation
  4. Swedish conservatives regret unsuccessful integration policies
  5. Record high measles cases hit Europe
  6. Swedish politician declares war on media
  7. Italy threatens to return migrants to Libya
  8. MEP accuses Maltese government of 'hate campaign'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. UK sanctions appeal risks highlighting EU divisions
  2. Wind delays launch of European wind-mapping satellite
  3. Greece 'normal' again after end of crisis, EU says
  4. Putin strikes blow against Russia's isolation by Europe
  5. EU-China cooperation on CO2 storage lost in limbo
  6. Greece exits bailouts, but difficult path ahead
  7. EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation
  8. 'Nativism' and the upcoming Swedish and Bavarian elections

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  4. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  6. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  8. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  9. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  12. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us