EU defence ministers appeared to be split on Tuesday as they mulled a Franco-German plan to boost defence cooperation in Europe.
Britain, which retains full voting rights until it officially quits the bloc, fears that the long-term game is to create an EU army.
The country’s defence secretary, Michael Fallon, warned that such a plan would “undermine NATO.”
“There are member states who would like to see…a single set of forces. That looks and sounds to me like a European army and we would oppose that,” he said before the meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Diplomats quoted by the Reuters news agency indicated that other EU countries, including Poland and the Baltic states were equally sceptical about the plans.
France and Germany say their proposal will create a new military headquaters and boost cooperation on procurement to lower costs.
“On the contrary,” said German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said. “It is about bundling the various strengths of European countries to be ready to act together quickly.”
Supporters of deeper European defence integration argue that that the continent is overly reliant on US military spending as a guarantor for its security.
The United States is by far the biggest contributor to NATO, the military alliance which is also based in Brussels.