The European Commission announced a new plan to improve the mobility of military units between Member States as part of a broader initiative to strengthen the Union’s defense capacity. Although inaccurately defined as “military Schengen”, its task is to facilitate the transport of troops and equipment in the European Union, for which at present there are number of administrative formalities and a lack of infrastructure.

The Action Plan aims to identify the needs of military transport and the usable infrastructures.

“These proposals are based on a practical dimension, but it is clear that they need to be done in regard to the strengthening of tensions with Russia”, a European diplomat explained. “It can be said no longer, that a conflict in Europe is impossible”, he added.

“We need a military Schengen area. The Russians have complete freedom of movement within their territory. We must be able to move as fast, if not even faster and to deploy troops against potential enemies in order to deter them”,

recently said US General Ben Hodges, a former commander of US troops in Europe. Since the 26 countries in the Schengen area have abolished internal border controls,

“we need the same freedom of movement within the EU as the truck driver who carries apples from Poland to France”, he added.

The European Union envisions co-financing of a dozen transnational corridors, but the decision to be passed, as well as their use for military purposes, is a matter which depends on Member States.

The Joint Declaration of EU Member States under the auspices of the HR of EU, Federica Mogherini since last November for measures to create a “Union that protects” serves as a basis for the Action Plan. The declaration is in line with efforts to boost the defense cooperation. For this purpose, EU Member States have set up the so-called “Permanent Structured Cooperation” or PESCO. The idea of turning the EU into a defense union has gained further impetus in the course of the negotiation on Brexit and was placed as a priority by the President of the EC Jean-Claude Juncker in his speech last autumn.

The new plan is in implementation of the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policies agreed at the summit in Bratislava in September 2016. It provides for strengthening the cooperation within the EU in this area, as well as strengthening the cooperation between the EU and NATO.