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Advancing military mobility in Europe: An uphill battle

Security & defence / POLICY BRIEF
Mihai Sebastian Chihaia

Date: 11/04/2023
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has put military mobility on top of the EU and NATO agendas. The return of traditional military threats and a renewed interest in territorial defence call for greater attempts to eliminate obstacles preventing armed forces from swiftly moving across EU borders. This Policy Brief maps the actions taken at the EU level to develop military mobility over the past years, with emphasis on the EU Action Plan 2.0. It identifies and analyses current EU objectives, outlines key challenges, and provides recommendations to enhance military mobility in Europe.

Several challenges are analysed by the author, which should be urgently addressed by the EU and the member states, especially in relation to the Action Plan 2.0. These include limited funding for dual-use transport infrastructure projects at the EU level, administrative and regulatory barriers, and the lack of political will in the member states to enhance military mobility.

Furthermore, the paper provides a SWOT Analysis of military mobility in Europe and the following recommendations are put forward:

  1. The commitment to advancing military mobility needs to be long-term.
  2. Military mobility needs to be complemented by a civilian dimension.
  3. EU member states should urgently prioritise developing military mobility plans.
  4. Undergo a lessons-learned process from the movement of military equipment in the context of EU and allies’ support to Ukraine.
  5. Regions and cities’ network of exchanges at the European level should include discussions on funding and dual-use infrastructure.
  6. Consider setting up an EU-NATO Centre of Excellence dedicated to military mobility in Europe.

Read the full paper here.
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