Amid increasing tensions between Europe and Russia, the EU’s announced a plan to make it easier and faster for military personnel and equipment to be moved across the bloc.
The Schengen-style approach is seen as crucial by NATO, in case of conflict with Moscow – to overcome border as well as infrastructure hurdles, such as bridges and tunnels not up the job.
“We will make sure, as I said, that the investments are done in the most efficient way and of course that our priorities are aligned and that we join forces to deliver a proper infrastructure for the entire EU. Of course, we will have to then, in the future, align these strategies also with NATO,” said EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.
Russia’s Zapad war games last year, on NATO’s eastern flank, hiked concerns that the massive drills could accidentally spark a conflict in eastern Europe.
There’s a fear it would leave NATO on the backfoot, not being able to mass troops there at speed.
“There is no huge cost involved, if of course in the future you want to take into account the military needs when you build new roads and railroads then there might be a cost,” commented Belgian analyst Sven Biscop.
“But it’s not as if we are going to build specific roads only for the military.”
The plan is going to EU governments and the European Parliament. The best routes for military transport are due to be outlined next year.