Bratislava (AFP) - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted Tuesday that EU plans for increased defence cooperation after Britain's departure would not undermine the transatlantic military alliance.
"There is no contradiction between strong European defence and strong NATO, actually it reinforces each other," Stoltenberg said as he attended a meeting of the union's 28 defence ministers in the Slovakian capital Bratislava.
"The importance is that we avoid duplication, that it is complementary," he said alongside EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
His comments came after British defence minister Michael Fallon said Britain would "continue to oppose any idea of an EU army", and that EU plans to boost defence cooperation after Brexit would undermine NATO.
The European Union ministers are discussing a French and German plan for more joint defence and a European military headquarters, after EU leaders agreed to boost cooperation at a summit in Bratislava earlier this month.
Italy's Mogherini said the EU defence ministers had "found common ground... on the need to strengthen European defence cooperation, and in full complementarity with NATO."
Citing an EU-NATO agreement signed in Warsaw in July, she said it would be "in full complementarity with no duplications, but mutually reinforcing our work."