On 7 June 2018, the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) co-organised the conference “Military Mobility – Key to European Security” in Brussels. Political and military decision-makers including Federica Mogherini, Head of the European Defence Agency, High-Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Krasimir Karakachanov, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq as well as Ministers and high level officials of Member States and allied countries, EU bodies, NATO, and other relevant stakeholders assessed progress in and exchanged views on European military mobility.
Military Mobility is key to European security. Today’s security environment demands the smooth, efficient and effective movement of military personnel and assets within and beyond the European Union. As a complex and multidimensional issue, military mobility requires a ‘whole-of-government’ approach whilst respecting national sovereignty.
The EU’s Action Plan on Military Mobility, presented by HR/VP Federica Mogherini and the European Commission on 28 March 2018, outlines the steps the European Union is taking to improve Military Mobility. The Action Plan builds on the Roadmap on Cross-Border Military Transportation developed by the European Defence Agency and in close cooperation and coordination with all relevant actors, including NATO.
In his opening speech, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Krasimir Karakachanov, said: “The boundaries between internal and external security issues are getting less distinct, the hybrid nature of conflicts is already established as a rule. Improving military mobility is key to the EU's ability to effectively carry out its Common Security and Defense Policy’s operations. Assuring fast and efficient movement of military contingents and materiel, within and outside EU territory, will enable our Union to effectively react to the challenges of the contemporary highly dynamic strategic environment”.
In his closing speech, Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, emphasized that “Military mobility is not just about defence. A whole of government approach is necessary to achieve results. At EU level we already took our share of responsibility and all relevant EU institutions, agencies and bodies are already working hand in hand to better serve the Member States’ needs. Looking at the European Council at the end of June, it is important for Heads of States and Government to address the issue in order to mobilise a whole of government approach.”
At the conference, high-level speakers from national governments and armed forces as well as NATO representatives and European defence actors discussed the way ahead in key note speeches and two panel discussions focussing on synergies and coordination as well as on military requirements for military mobility respectively.