OPEN BORDERS FOR MILITARY
Largely unnoticed by the wider public, yet a corner stone for Military Mobility in Europe: 10 years ago, in 2012, EDA oversaw the drafting and signing of the first Diplomatic Clearances Technical Arrangements allowing its Member States’ Armed Forces to swiftly and smoothly cross European territories and airspaces with transport aircraft. Diplomatic clearances and cross-border movement permissions have since become crucial enablers and facilitators of intra-European military deployments but also CSDP missions and operations.
The European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) partnership signed by 19 EU Member States and Norway in 2011 under the auspices of EDA was aimed at improving the military airlift provision in the EU and developing concrete solutions to increase its efficiency and effectiveness. The development of a Diplomatic Clearances Technical Arrangement (DIC TA) for airlift started immediately afterwards, under the EATF umbrella, and in 2012 the first signatures were achieved, followed by numerous accessions of additional participants over the years, resulting in 20 signatories to date (AT, BE, BG, CY, CZ, DE, EL, FI, FR, IT, LT, LU, LV, NL, NO, PL, RO, SE, SI, SK).
20 countries have signed the Diplomatic Clearance arrangement to date resulting in some ten thousands of cleared military flights since 2012.
The arrangement set harmonised procedures for overflights and landings and enables Member States to operate without the need to submit diplomatic clearances requests for each flight. Since then, the DIC arrangement is used by Member States’ Armed Forces countless times, day in day out. And it has, and still is, benefitting CSDP missions and operations as well, even though the DIC TA usage for national and international missions is difficult to trace back.
“Though it is not possible for us to track and record every DIC TA-enabled flight that Member States have made as part of a national or international mission, we can easily state that so far, some ten thousand flights have benefitted from the DIC TA, and numerous of them were carried out as part of a CSDP missions and/or operations”, says Gerd Schwiedessen, EDA’s Project Officer Aviation. Such arrangements are important “force multipliers” that help to make sure troops and military equipment can be moved across Europe with very short or even no lead time at all, he stresses.
In 2021, 25 Member States (as well as Norway) developed two additional Technical Arrangements to optimise surface and air cross-border movement permission (CBMP) procedures, including to provide adequate and effective solutions for the transport of dangerous goods in the military domain. The air arrangement (currently AT, BE, CY, EL, ES, FI, HR, IT, LT, LU, LV, NO,PL, PT, RO, with more Member States in staffing) of these two now complements the DIC TA to cover all other fixed and rotary wing platforms’ movements. Individual and in combination, these arrangements also contribute to moving European NATO forces.
More info on diplomatic clearances: https://dic.eda.europa.eu