On May 14 an agreement of fourteen members of the European Union on simplification of military mobility procedures was signed at a meeting in Brussels. The programme aimed at concerting and simplifying the procedures applied to cross-border movement of forces between EU members states will be headed by Lithuania.
Lithuania will chair the Managing Committee of the programme: its task is to supervise the implementation and provide guidelines to subordinate expert tasks forces which will be developing technical requirements.
“As the ones who hold the eastern border of NATO, we find it particularly important that allied troops with equipment are able to come to our help in case of a crisis without facing bureaucratic procedural obstacles when crossing EU states’ borders. When the agreement we have just signed is implemented, allies crossing the borders of the signatory countries will have to comply with the same rules, follow the same procedures, and meet the same timeline,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says. “Being placed in the lead of the programme is a sign of estimation because the current terms for border-crossing of military equipment in Lithuania are among the least time-consuming in the EU, which means we have best practices to share with other members.”
According to Minister, the simplified procedures of military movement should be in force in case of EU operations and missions, as well as of other bilateral and multinational formats, too. According to him, Lithuania will use the lead to concert and simplify military mobility procedures among EU countries over the next two years and to develop an advance permit system, similar to diplomatic permits for flights.
Currently Lithuania has one of the quickest border-crossing procedures for military equipment in the EU – within 24 hours in case of emergency and 5 days in ordinary cases. On certain occasions, e.g., for NATO Response Force flights, permits can be issued at no notice.
To date, countries contributing to the military mobility procedures simplification programme are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Croatia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, and Romania. Other EU member states will join in when they finish internal coordination.