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, BBC reports.
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 and urged Brexit negotiations to take place as quickly as possible.
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.
He urged a renewed focus on the EU as a “driving force that can bring about unification, for instance in Cyprus”.
Splits in the Union had left space for “galloping populism,” he said, “and we cannot except that, as populism doesn’t solve problems, on the contrary populism creates problems”
In a blunt criticism of recent attacks on immigrants in the UK, he said he would “never accept Polish workers being beaten up and harassed on the streets of Essex”.