The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

Defending Europe: Improving Military Mobility within and beyond the European Union

Bruxelles, 10/07/2018 - 11:51, UNIQUE ID: 180710_2

"By 2025 we need a fully-fledged European Defence Union." - President Juncker, State of the Union Address, September 2017


Creating a fully-fledged European Defence Union by 2025 is imperative to Europe's security and to build a Union that protects. A smooth, efficient and effective movement of military personnel and assets across and beyond the EU will enhance the EU's preparedness and response to crises. It will enable EU Member States to act faster, in line with their defence needs and responsibilities, both in the context of the Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations, and in the framework of national and multinational activities. Currently, cross-border mobility is still hampered by a number of barriers that can lead to delays, disruption, higher costs or increased vulnerability.


European initiative to improve the mobility of military personnel, material and assets within and beyond the EU by addressing existing legal, infrastructural and procedural barriers between the EU Member States. 


Infrastructure not suitable for the weight or size of military assets

Insufficient height of road tunnels or load capacity of bridges, different gauges or insufficient load capacity of railways

Regulatory and procedural issues

Lengthy and complex procedures for cross-border and movement in national territory, including customs formalities related to military operations, diverging national rules on the transport of dangerous goods in the military domain

Shortcomings in the military domain:

Lack of coordination structures, movement plans and training and exercises; the need to foster resilience in countering hybrid threats and to ensure access to transport assets, as well as preparedness regarding environmental challenges.


With the Action Plan on Military Mobility, the EU aims to help the EU Member States to tackle these and other analogous barriers and facilitate military mobility through concrete measures in a number of areas, in coherence with other defence initiatives, notably the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and in full complementarity with relevant international actors, notably NATO.

  • Definition of the military requirements for military mobility within and beyond the EU in strategic and technical terms developed by the Member States in the EU Military Committee and approved by the Council.
  • Identification of the sections of the trans-European transport network suitable for military transport, including necessary upgrades of existing infrastructure, through civilian and military synergies. It is not a question of prioritising one at the expense of another.
  • Foreseen dedicated EU financial support for dual use civilian-military infrastructure projects of €6.5 billion in the years 2021-2027 under the Multi-annual Financial Framework.
  • Support Member States in developing arrangements to expedite cross-border movement permissions.
  • Streamlining and simplifying rules related to customs, and the transport of dangerous goods.


Working closely with EU Member States, including all relevant authorities at national level, is crucial for the successful implementation of the Action Plan. All actions will be carried out in full respect of the sovereignty of the Member States over their national territory and decision-making processes related to military movements. Steps will also be taken to enhance cooperation between EU institutions, agencies and bodies and the relevant national EU Member State authorities. Close coordination with Member States' efforts under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the separate PESCO project on military mobility will also be ensured to reach complementarity of results.

Further cooperation with NATO on military mobility, in the framework of the implementation of the Joint Declaration is key and will be taken forward in full openness and transparency.


  • By July 2018: the Council validates the technical specifications for transport infrastructure as an element of the military requirements.
  • The European Defence Agency launches cooperative projects in the field of customs and cross-border movement permission.
  • By the end of September 2018: the Council aims at finalising the military requirements, including the geographical identification of needed infrastructure.
  • By end 2018: The Commission, in cooperation with EU Member States, the EEAS and the EDA,  compares the current specifications applicable for the transport network (TEN-T) with the military requirements, incl. identifying the gaps; and it explores options for streamlining and simplifying customs formalities.
  • By Summer 2019: Presentation of first progress report on the implementation of the Action Plan as well as the measures undertaken by the EU Member States at national level to improve the efficiency of military mobility.
  • By October 2019: Identification of Dual-use projects, including their quantified cost. On this basis, the Commission together with the Member States draw up a list of priority projects.
  • By end 2019: Feasibility assessment of interlinking the military and civilian (TENtec) databases and the possible scope of any such action.
  • By 2020: Assessment of the need to adapt the TEN-T Regulation to include upgraded technical requirements.