European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini proposes the formation of a headquarters in Brussels for European "battlegroups" that could have military intervention in crises.
Mogherini told the Italian daily La Repubblica in an interview published on Thursday that current multi-national rapid reaction units, which she described as battlegroups, had to be put into action.
"We can and we must decide to make them an asset to be used when we need a rapid European intervention," Mogherini said.
The former Italian foreign minister noted that Britain's impending departure had left other EU governments with no excuse for not moving forward on giving the bloc a defense capacity.
She stressed that there was a post-Brexit "general consensus on the need to move forward in this field."
"If you look at opinion polls, the principal concerns of Europeans are the economy and security. Internal security implies also an external dimension, a defense capacity,” Mogherini said.
The EU foreign policy supremo, however, insisted that she was not proposing the creation ofan EU army.
“It's good to clarify we are not talking about a European army, but about European defense: something we can really do, concretely, starting now."
Mogherini is also seeking the approval of EU governments for a smaller group of countries to organize military action on behalf of the whole bloc.
The creation of "a common headquarters in Brussels that would run all present and future military and civilian operations” is among other proposals that Mogherini is set to put forward to European governments.
"This could become the nucleus around which a common European defense structure could be built,” she pointed out.
Mogherini also said that European governments need to pool resources for "the gigantic investments needed in the defense sector."
The EU foreign policy chief has opened discussions with EU governments on a global security strategy for the EU.
In March last year, President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker also called for the creation of an EU army, amid tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
The proposals to extend EU’s military capabilities come amid tensions between the West and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis. The Western governments accuse Russia of having a hand in the ongoing conflict in the east of Ukraine, an allegation Moscow has repeatedly denied.