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29 Jan, 2024 15:47

NATO planning ‘military Schengen’ – The Times

Bloc planners have criticized red tape restricting cross-border exchanges of military equipment, the newspaper reported
NATO planning ‘military Schengen’ – The Times

Plans are underway to create a network of “military corridors” across Europe in an effort to bypass complex regulations which currently restrict the exchange of equipment and personnel between NATO nations, The Times reported on Sunday.

In November, NATO’s European logistics chief Lieutenant-General Alexander Sollfrank urged countries in the region to establish zones to allow for the rapid movement of troops and ammunition in the event of a major conflict with Russia.

The idea has been floated by military leaders for years, The Times noted, saying talks on creating the corridors “are now underway” and the results could be announced before NATO’s next summit in July.

The “byzantine tangle of regulations restricting the exchange and transport of military equipment” in the EU has created a “significant headache” for NATO planners, the outlet said.

”Cross-border exercises frequently involve dizzying quantities of paperwork that would cost critical time in a military crisis,” it added.

In an interview with The Times, Sollfrank said the US-led military bloc members must begin without delay, making efforts to “reduce or adapt the red tape” wherever possible.

”Everyone can start. Just do it. And don’t wait. Because in the end we have no time to waste,” he warned.

The logistics chief pointed to the example of paratroopers being prohibited from using parachutes belonging to other member states, even when there is no reason for such a restriction.

“Where’s the problem, for example, with a paratrooper from a European nation A using a parachute from a neighboring nation B after having been trained on this system, or attaching equipment from one nation to the helicopter of another nation?” he asked. If there are no “technical or security” issues involved, there should be no impediments, he said.

However, Lieutenant General Jan-Willem Maas, the chief of Defense Support Command for the Dutch armed forces, told The Times that there was still plenty of preparation needed. “We are not where we should be. That’s clear,” he said.

In recent weeks, senior officials in several European nations have been urging their citizens to prepare for a potential military confrontation with Russia.

Moscow, however, has repeatedly insisted that it has no interest in waging war against NATO, with Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissing the warnings as “nonsense,” saying Moscow has “no interest” in attacking any bloc members.

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