The Eurocrat leader said the bloc must be able to act independently of NATO and the UN and deploy troops around the world.
She accused the leaders of lacking the political will to send soldiers into battle under an EU flag.
The former German defense minister said: “There will be missions where NATO or the UN will not be present but where Europe should be.
“You can have the most advanced forces in the world, but if you’re never ready to use them what are they for? “
Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes blasted: “The EU is not a country and should not have its own army. “
The head of the Commission wants an “entry force” of 5,000 men to intervene in future international crises.
In her annual ‘State of the Union’ address, Ms von der Leyen also boasted that the bloc had beaten Britain in the race for the Covid vaccine.
Ignoring the chaotic start of the Brussels deployment, she insisted: “A pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. “