In a speech during a conference on EU security and defence in Prague on Friday, Jean-Claude Juncker said the way ahead “starts with making sure we spend what is needed on our defence”.
The Commission president said the EU needs to “invest more, and invest in a more efficient way”.
Juncker pointed out that EU member states are spending an average of 1.3 per cent of GDP on defence – much less than the US, Russia and China.
He also said that because defence projects are undertaken on a national level for members states, with no coordination, “there some 170 different weapon systems in the EU, compared to 30 in the United States”.
Juncker added: “It’s no longer a question of national sovereignty. It’s a question of European sovereignty.”
Juncker also said Nato remains crucial for the EU’s security.
He said: “Nato has been and will remain a cornerstone of European security.
“No Nato is not an option for the European Union. It would be a disaster for the European Union. We have to stick together.”
The EU unveiled a new defence fund Wednesday, which will provide £439million (€500million) in 2019 and 2020 to help buy and develop military equipment.
From 2020, the amount would double to £878million (€1billion).
Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, told the conference “this is the time to get things done”.
She said: “Let me be very open about this. If we’re heading toward European security and defence, it is not because the UK is leaving the European Union, or because of shifts across the Atlantic.
“There’s one thing that European citizens say clear and loud. They want more European Union in defence and security.”