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US, Canada, Norway joining EU’s military mobility project

PESCO military mobility
Photo: Dutch defense ministry

The United States, Canada, and Norway have become the first three non-EU states to join a project led by the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) by taking part in the Dutch-led military mobility project.

On May 6, the Foreign Affairs Council approved the requests by the US, Canada and Norway to participate in the project to enhance troop deployment, host- and transit-nation activities.

“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,” Dutch defense minister Ank Bijleveld commented. “Within the project, we will continue to improve military mobility in the next years together.”

“Today, the Council approved the participation of the US, Canada and Norway in the Military Mobility PESCO project. This is an area of shared priority and common interest in our transatlantic relations. It will make EU defense more efficient and contribute to strengthen our security,” EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said.

Being able to move military personnel and materiel throughout the EU smoothly and swiftly is of utmost importance to a credible European defense. This is why the PESCO project 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 synchronize 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.

“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”, Canadian defense minister Harjit S. Sajjan commented.

“Norway very much welcomes the positive response by the EU to the Norwegian request for participation in the PESCO-project. 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,” Norwegian defense minister Frank Bakke Jensen added.