Federica Mogherini.jpg
Photograph: EPA/BARTLOMIEJ ZBOROWSKI POLAND OUT

European Union states should pool military resources as a way of reviving the European project following Britain's shock decision to leave the bloc, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a Thursday interview.

Common defence projects were nixed by France in the 1950s, out of national sovereignty concerns. Since then, little progress was made on the issue, partly due to Britain's reluctance and concerns that a hypothetical EU army could undermine NATO.

"The time has come now for laying the groundwork for a common defence," Mogherini told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. "I think this is one of the great projects through which we can restart the [EU] integration process," she added.

Noting that Britain was not alone in opposing deeper EU military cooperation, the former Italian foreign minister said that once London exits the EU, other covertly sceptical capitals would no longer have a "comfortable alibi" to hinder progress.

Mogherini laid out a four-point plan that she was going to present at an EU summit in Bratislava on September 16. All EU leaders except Britain's Theresa May are due to take part to discuss a post-Brexit future for the bloc.

First, the EU should agree that its existing multinational battle groups, ready for combat since 2007 but never engaged in active conflicts, should actually be deployed in crisis zones, Mogherini proposed.

Her plan also foresees: allowing selected EU states to conduct military operations on behalf of the whole bloc; setting up EU military headquarters in Brussels; and launching EU-level defence procurement initiatives.

EU foreign ministers were briefed last week in Bratislava, the Financial Times newspaper reported separately. It said Poland and Slovakia "privately questioned the initiative" and "neutral EU countries, such as Austria and Ireland, also have reservations."

The EU defence plan was also expected to feature in European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker's annual State of the Union speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday, the Financial Times reported.

Related stories

Latest news

Two charged for racially insulting actor Jamie Foxx in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik police will bring misdemeanour charges against two men for disturbing the peace on Sunday night in a local restaurant when they racially insulted African American actor Jamie Foxx, who is currently in Dubrovnik filming "Robin Hood: Origins".

Opposition youth leader arrested in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean police on Monday arrested an opposition youth leader on charges of inciting public violence against the government of President Robert Mugabe, the youth leader’s lawyer said.

Turkey dismisses 227 judges and prosecutors

Turkey's top judicial body on Monday dismissed 227 judges and prosecutors who are accused of having links to a cleric blamed for last year's coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Germany vows to do all it can to free journalist detained in Turkey

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday hailed German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel as a symbol of free speech as it vowed to treat his case with the "utmost importance" in order to secure his release.

Minister: State of education system not disastrous, Croatia leads in some indicators

Croatian Science and Education Minister Pavo Barisic has opposed assessments that the situation in the education system is disastrous, underlining that according to some indicators, Croatia is among the best European countries, as evidenced by the fact that as many as 97% of teachers attend seminars and lectures, a rate much above the European average.

Le Pen says al-Assad is better solution for Syria than Islamic State

France's far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains the more reassuring solution for France than Islamic State.

Residents in northern Greece oppose refugee children attending school

There were renewed clashes between angry residents and police in the northern Greek town of Oreokastro on Monday, where some locals have for months opposed children from a nearby refugee centre being taught at the local school.

Germany, France slam Russia's acceptance of Ukrainian rebel passports

EU member states Germany and France, which have been seeking to mitigate the conflict between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, on Monday broadly condemned Russia's recognition of rebel-issued passports.

Stier says Croatia strongly supports Kosovo, calls for enhancing economic cooperation

The Croatian minister announced a closer economic cooperation with Kosovo.

Afghanistan demands Pakistan hand over militants, shut training camps

The Afghan government has demanded that Pakistan hand over terrorists operating on its soil and close tens of terrorist training camps, the Foreign Ministry in Kabul said Monday.

Four Russian servicemen in Syria killed in vehicle bombing

Four Russian servicemen were killed and two others injured when a remote-controlled bomb exploded under their vehicle in Syria's western Homs region, Russian state media reported Monday, citing the Defence Ministry.

Iraqi forces advance in Mosul as US Defence Secretary visits Baghdad

Iraqi forces pressed on with their offensive to dislodge the extremist Islamic State militia from their stronghold in northern Iraq, as US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis landed in Baghdad on an unannounced official visit.