“This would not only increase our interoperability, but it would also reduce our dependencies,” she said before outlining plans to strengthen cyber defense and intelligence sharing.
“President Macron and I are going to convene a summit on European defense,” she added, “Honorable deputies, it is time for Europe to take it to the next level. ”
The plans will be seen as a stepping stone to a possible European army, which the UK has consistently opposed upon joining the bloc.
In her annual State of the Union address, Ms von der Leyen said the EU has responded well to the coronavirus pandemic, despite the EU’s initially slow response.
“A pandemic is a marathon, it is not a sprint […] we did it the right way because we did it the European way, and I think it worked, ”she said.
Brussels was furious at the start of the year when the UK, US and Israel far exceeded their vaccination efforts, but the EU recently overtook Britain.
Ms von der Leyen congratulated the EU for launching its digital vaccine passport project in just three months.
“While the rest of the world was talking about it, Europe did it,” she told MEPs.