In the unstable world we live in, military mobility becomes a paramount condition for states to maintain domestic, regional and international security. In the European Union’s case, it enables Member States’ armed forces to respond to crises breaking out at the external borders or beyond; bolsters transport infrastructure’s efficiency; avoids delays in cross-border military transits (displacement of personnel, materiel and assets) in and outside the EU territory; and ensures the alignment of efforts with partners like NATO by increasing inter-state policy synergies.
Since its establishment in December 2017 by the Council of the European Union under the Council Decision 2017/2315, the EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which consists of all EU Member States (MS) minus Denmark and Malta, has supervised the development of 47 projects (PESCO Secretariat, 2021). Among these projects is the Military Mobility (MM) project, founded in 2018 and characterized by the nearly full participation of PESCO Members, apart from Ireland. Coordinated by the Netherlands, the MM project aims to simplify and standardise cross-border military transport procedures, side-stepping long bureaucratic procedures for the movement of military personnel and equipment through or over the EU MS (PESCO Secretariat, 2021), thereby enhancing the availability, interoperability, flexibility, and deploy-ability of the forces of the MS, as required by Article 2(c) of Protocol 10 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU). This purpose is coherent with the binding Commitment 12, undertaken by PESCO participating states, which requires states to simplify and standardise “cross border military transport in Europe for enabling rapid deployment of military materiel and personnel” (PESCO Secretariat, 2021; Latici, 2019, 2).
On 11 December 2017, the Council of the EU adopted the decision to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO Secretariat, 2021). PESCO aims to enhance defence cooperation and army interoperability between EU member states who are willing and able to participate (ibid). Concretely, it provides a framework to increase cooperation in the planning, development, investment, and operability of defence capabilities between the 25 participating EU member states (ibid; EDA, 2021). This way, PESCO is a collaborative effort to create “a coherent full spectrum of defence capabilities available to Member States for national and multinational (EU, NATO, UN, etc.) missions and operations” (PESCO Secretariat, 2021). It is a strong form of cooperation as participation in PESCO entails automatic subscription to the list of legally binding commitments enshrined in article 2 of Protocol 10 annexed to the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) (ibid).