Brussels, Belgium: (World View Media, Reuters)
Military cooperation in the European Union will get a boost as the 27 nation bloc is admitting for the first time outside partners such as the United States, Canada and Norway into one of its projects, Germany said on Thursday (May 6).
“We will take further steps to build a common Strategic Compass but most of all today we will be making a quantum leap in concrete cooperation,” German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said ahead of the first in-person meeting with her EU counterparts in over a year in Brussels.
The EU project on military mobility is designed to facilitate the movement of troops across Europe, something NATO deems as crucial in the event of a conflict with Russia.
While NATO has spearheaded efforts to reduce conflicting regulations across 27 EU countries for transfers of U.S. troops, the EU has a budget to back the reconstruction of bridges too weak for tanks and has more power over changing bloc-wide rules.
The decision, to be formally taken by EU defence ministers on Thursday, means NATO members Norway, Canada and the United States also become the first foreign countries to collaborate in the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact, which aims to deepen defence ties.
Military mobility aims at improving the exchange of information between EU countries and cutting red tape at borders, including harmonising customs rules to allow for swift deployments and easier transport of military equipment.
Speaking before the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the European Union would also discuss sending a civilian training mission to Mozambique to help the government withstand a growing insurgency.
Mozambique’s government has been facing an Islamist insurgency since 2017 and rebels have stepped up attacks in the past year, putting at risk natural gas projects that are aimed at transforming the country’s economy.
Mozambique wrote to the EU in September to ask for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency.
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