US, Canada and Norway invited to join EU PESCO project Military Mobility

Today, on the 6th of May, the Foreign Affairs Council, composed of Ministers of Defence, decided positively on the requests by the US, Canada and Norway to participate in the PESCO project Military Mobility, which is led by the Netherlands.

The admission of these three key EU partners and NATO allies to the EU project is of great significance to the transatlantic bond and will further contribute to enhance EU-NATO cooperation in this area. All three countries will bring invaluable expertise and knowhow to the project with regard to troop deployment, host- and transit-nation activities.

This is the first time, since the launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in December 2017, that non-EU Member States will join a PESCO project. The possibility for this was established by a Council Decision in November 2020.

The Netherlands is delighted with today’s Council decisions. The Dutch minister of Defence, Ank Bijleveld: “As project leader we have been looking forward to this moment and we have worked hard to get here. We are very pleased  that we can welcome three important NATO countries to this EU project today. I will send the official invitation letters soon. Within the project, we will continue to improve military mobility in the next years together.”

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said: “Today, the Council approved the participation of the US, Canada and Norway in the Military Mobility PESCO project. Their expertise will contribute to the project and, with it, to improving military mobility within and beyond the EU. This is an area of shared priority and common interest in our transatlantic relations. It will make EU defence more efficient and contribute to strengthen our security.”

U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III said: “We welcome the EU’s decision to approve U.S. participation in the Dutch-led Military Mobility project.  It demonstrates the EU’s commitment to ensure U.S. participation in EU defence initiatives, enhance NATO-EU cooperation, ensure interoperability, and strengthen Transatlantic security.”

“Canada welcomed the EU decision in November 2020 on the modalities to allow third-state participation. Canada is proud to be participating in the Military Mobility project and looks forward to working with our EU partners on a more practical level”, says Harjit S. Sajjan, Canadian Minister of National Defence.

“Norway very much welcomes the positive response by the EU to the Norwegian request for participation in the PESCO-project on Military Mobility. Norwegian participation in the project will improve our ability to deploy forces to and from Northern Europe, and will be a contribution to security in the entire region”, says Mr. Frank Bakke Jensen, Norwegian Minister of Defence.

Background

Military mobility is a key priority for the EU and its Member States. Being able to move military personnel and materiel throughout the EU smoothly and swiftly is of utmost importance to a credible European defence, our preparedness and resilience as well as to the deployment of missions and operations.

The PESCO Project Military Mobility was launched in early 2018, to function as a forum for alignment of actions taken at the national level, as well as aligning these actions with the EU-wide efforts. In this project, 24 EU Member States synchronise national actions, share best practices and discuss new ways for practical progress on military mobility. This project is part of a broader set of initiatives to improve military mobility, both within the EU, NATO, and not least at the national level. The strategic platform offered by the project allows the capitals to stay in close contact with each other and coordinate on matters related to military mobility.

For further information

Sascha Louwhoff, Spokesperson to the Minister (NL MOD)
SM.Louwhoff@mindef.nl, +31 6 20 30 23 56

Marlon van Dijk, Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU
marlon-van.dijk@minbuza.nl, +32 49 99 22 245