The European Union needs a military headquarters to work towards a common military force, the Commission president has told MEPs in Strasbourg.
Jean-Claude Juncker said the lack of a “permanent structure” resulted in money being wasted on missions.
Part of his annual state of the union address was devoted to the UK’s unexpected vote to leave the EU.
He insisted that the bloc was not at risk but called for Brexit negotiations to take place as quickly as possible.
Modelled on the state of the union address by the US president, the Commission president’s annual speech was introduced in 2010 to detail the state of the EU and future legislative plans.
Won’t a common military force interfere with Nato?
The Brexit vote has given added impetus to plans for greater defence co-operation, because the UK has always objected to the potential conflict of interest with Nato.
But Mr Juncker said a common military force “should be in complement to Nato”. “More defence in Europe doesn’t mean less transatlantic solidarity.”
A European Defence Fund would stimulate military research and development, he said.