| 20 May 2024, Monday |

US, Norway, and Canada join EU’s ‘military mobility’ project

Canada, Norway and the US joined an EU project for enhanced defense co-operation and integration, which aims to raise the speed that military assets can be deployed across Europe.

The Netherlands-led “military mobility” project seeks to slash bureaucratic waiting times and upgrade infrastructure including bridges, rail and roads. Around $2.05 billion has been earmarked by the EU over the next seven years for the project.

Germany’s defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said it was a “quantum leap in concrete co-operation when it comes to ensuring that troops can be deployed in Europe across national borders”.

“This is a very important topic, not only for the European Union, but also for Nato,” she said.

It is the first time the EU has opened up Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) to non-member states. The approval came as EU defence ministers met in Brussels.

Also present was Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said “non-EU allies play an essential role in protecting and defending Europe”.

He noted imminent Nato exercises that will lead to British, Turkish and American soldiers being deployed to the European mainland.

“It demonstrates the importance of moving Nato troops quickly through Europe and that’s also a reason why military mobility is so important”, he said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the project will make the bloc’s “defence more efficient and contribute to strengthen our security”.

“The admission of these three key EU partners and Nato allies to the EU project is of great significance to the transatlantic bond and will further contribute to enhance EU-Nato co-operation in this area,” the Dutch defence ministry said.

Denmark and Malta are the only two EU countries that opted not to join Pesco, which was formed in 2017.

  • The National News