The European Union’s chief executive called on Wednesday for a joint command headquarters for EU military missions and greater defense cooperation, reviving long-running efforts to reduce reliance on the United States.
In his annual speech to the European Parliament, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said no single EU government had a military big enough to deal with security challenges on Europe’s doorstep, from Islamic militants to a more hostile Russia.
The proposals, echoing a plan put forward this week by France and Germany, are part of a broader attempt to rally EU nations after Britain’s vote to leave the bloc and to capitalize on its departure – London having opposed the idea.
“We must have a European headquarters and so we should work towards a common military force,” Juncker told the European Parliament, although officials stressed this did not amount to an EU army. “This should be to complement NATO,” he said, also outlining proposals for a common defense fund.