The foreign affairs chief of the EU has warned that Europe is unable to rely on NATO for its military without Britain, sparking worries that an EU army may have to be formed following the Brexit vote.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday urged the bloc to do more in its own defence, just as leaders discussed Britain's leave vote which will result in the loss of a major military power.
'As Europeans we must take greater responsibility for our security. We must be ready and able to deter, respond to and protect ourselves against external threats,' Mogherini said in a policy review submitted to European Union leaders meeting in Brussels.
The foreign affairs chief of the EU, Federica Mogherini (right, speaking to David Cameron) has warned that Europe is unable to rely on NATO for its military without Britain
While Britain is an active contributor to the currently very limited EU military operations, David Cameron has consistently opposed any idea of a separate EU army.
Mogherini's review, a year in the making, lays down ambitious goals for the EU in the face of new security challenges in the east, highlighted by the Ukraine crisis, and in the south, driven by turmoil across Africa and the Middle East.
'While NATO exists to defend its members - most of which are European - from external attack, Europeans must be better equipped, trained and organised to contribute decisively to such collective efforts, as well as to act autonomously if and when necessary,' the review said.
'An appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy is important for Europe's ability to foster peace and safeguard security within and beyond its borders.'