At NATO's Behest, EU Announces New Regulations on 'Military-Standard' Bridge Sizes

At NATO's Behest, EU Announces New Regulations on 'Military-Standard' Bridge Sizes”

A confidential North Atlantic Treaty Organisation report past year questioned the alliance's ability to defend against a Russian attack, citing a smaller command structure since the end of the Cold War and logistical difficulties on the alliance's eastern flank.

Conflicting regulations across 28 European Union countries, bridges and tunnels too narrow or weak for heavy equipment and few special allowances for transfers of USA troops all make it hard for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, commanders say.

"We will make sure, as I said, that the investments are done in the most efficient way and of course that our priorities are aligned and that we join forces to deliver a proper infrastructure for the entire EU".

The European Commission proposal calls for identifying rail and road routes suitable for military transport and upgrading existing infrastructure, for example by ensuring the height or the weight capacity of bridges can handle tanks and heavy military equipment.

Faced with intense pressure from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union agreed Wednesday to a new plan which aims to standardize the size and durability of bridges and tunnels across the union. Easier diplomatic clearance is also needed.

The plan is a test both for the European Union's renewed efforts to coordinate on military matters and to work better with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which has its own standards for military-strength bridges, roads, tunnels and airfields.

If the European Union were to design its own system, that would create unnecessary duplication and likely anger the United States.

Before retiring past year, the top USA commander in Europe, Ben Hodges, called for a military zone of free movement similar to the EU's passport-free travel "Schengen" zone.

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