Estonia, which has taken over the EU presidency, has urged fellow member states to do more on defence.
The EU has been seeking to cooperate more deeply on security and military matters – a move that has gathered pace with Brexit on the horizon.
“It is clear that the European Union must assume greater responsibility for security in and around Europe. No single country is able to stand up to the threats we face, or solve these challenges, alone,” said Estonian PM Juri Ratas in a speech to the European Parliament.
“The EU Global Strategy, the EU-NATO joint declaration and the debate on the future of defence rightly set out a high ambition. In order to keep those ambitious promises and deliver results, we need to spend more, and we need to spend better on defence.”
Cooperation between the EU and NATO will be a top priority for the Baltic country, which shares a border with Russia.
One left-wing MEP believes it would lead to the militarisation of the EU.
“What we need is a stabilization in the countries outside the EU, our neighbouring countries and I think that a stronger defence union and a lot of pressure on the Eastern countries is not good for stabilization,” said Gabi Zimmer, a German parliamentarian.
Estonian officials say they want to agree on the funding model for planned EU Battle Groups by the end of the year.