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. 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. “It is not possible for us to track and record every DIC TA-enabled flight that a Member State has made as part of a national or international mission, including CSDP missions and operations, but one thing is for sure: among the thousands of military flights that have taken place in Europe utilising the DIC TA since 2012, numerous of them were carried out as part of a CSDP missions and/or operation”, said 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. 

EDA’s work on military mobility has since then significantly expanded, with two new work strands underway, one of which is expected to lead, by the end of this year, to a set of two new Technical Arrangements between participating EDA Member States, namely on Cross-Border Movement Permissions (CBMP TA) for land and air military movements. The CBMP TA will expand the diplomatic clearance process-harmonisation to non-airlift platforms, and also addresses the transport of dangerous goods by air, which is crucial for military operations. “Once in force, this new arrangement will make a significant difference as the lead time for overflights with dangerous goods will go down from 10-20 working days on average today, to just two days in the future!”, explains Schwiedessen.  

Both EDA-engineered arrangements - DIC & CBMP Air/Surface - are (or will shortly be) there with one overall objective: to facilitate Member States’ military deployments and support the EU’s CSDP missions and operations.   

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