media caption Ursula von der Leyen said the EU must develop the political will to act
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said the EU should seek to strengthen its military capabilities to deal with security threats and threatsglobal crises.
She told the European Parliament that she believes EU military forces will be "part of the solution ".
The EU needed the "political will " to intervene militarily without the US after the fall of the Afghan government.
France to host EU summit on defense next year, she added.
"It is time to take Europe to the next level, " said Ms von der Leyen in her annual speech on the State of the Union.
The EU has historically relied on the NATO alliance for its military actions.
The rapid collapse of the Afghan government in The end of the US-led mission to the country last month raised questions about the ability of the EU to conduct its own policy defense.
Earlier this month, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer called for intense discussions on thebuilding the EU "a strategic player to be reckoned with ".
His co The comments echo those of other European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who has supported the idea of a European army.
The UK's departure from the EU also brought security to the fore, in part because it was opposed to building a new European response force.
A 'lack of political will '
Proposals for an EU rapid response force first emerged in the 1990s.
In 1999 , Member States have pledged to develop a military force of up to 60,000 troops. In 2007, battle groups of 1,500 men from each member state were established.
Battle groups were declared ready for operations but were never used due to disputes over the funding and a reluctance to deployer.
"You may have the most advanced forces in the world - but if you're never ready to use them, what are they for? declared the President of the Commission in the Parliament of Strasbourg .
"What has held us back so far is not just a lack of capacity - it is the lack of political will. "
Most EU countries are also members of NATO and some, especially states neighboring Russia, do not want to undermine ties with the United States .
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this month that he supports EU plans to build a common political defense, but has put in place guard against the creation of a new military force.
Mrs von der Leyen explained to the EU must ensure greater stability in its own neighborhood and elsewhere, by participatingt to missions that did not include NATO and the UN. He also had to fight cyber threats by becoming a leader in cybersecurity.
A joint statement would be made with NATO by the end of the year, she said. added.
The President of the Commission also said:
- The EU "would stand alongside the Afghan people "and increase humanitarian aid for Afghanistan by 100 million euros (85 million pounds; 118 million dollars)
- The upcoming COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow would be "a moment of truth for the global community ". She called on the United States and China - the world's biggest polluters - to step up their commitments to tackle climate change
- The Covid-19 pandemic was "a marathon, not a sprint ". She announced more funding and vaccine donations to low-income countries to ensure that "thisdoes not turn into a pandemic of the unvaccinated "
- EU Member States have a responsibility to defend European values , including the right to justice independent
- The government of Belarus had "instrumentalized " migrants by sending them to the s of EU countries. It accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of ' "a hybrid attack to destabilize Europe
- The European Commission would develop a new chipmaking "ecosystem , to maintain the competitiveness of the 'EU and autonomous