The latest EU foreign policy document, titled Global Strategy, calls for an extended reach into new spheres as distant as the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
It also outlined “gradual synchronisation and mutual adaptation” between different member states’ individual defence strategies.
Ukip’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem said: “The EU wants its own Empire as former Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made clear when he was in charge.
“This global strategy by the EU is yet another reason why last Thursday’s result was a lucky escape for the UK.”
The latest plans, which reveal how the EU wants autonomy in defence and security matters, were outlined by foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
The Brussels document said: “European security and defence efforts should enable the EU to act autonomously while also contributing to and undertaking action in co-operation with NATO.
“Member States need the technological and industrial means to acquire and sustain those capabilities which underpin their ability to act autonomously.”
It added: “Gradual synchronisation and mutual adaption of national defence planning cycles and capability development practice can enhance strategic convergence between Member States.”
Discussing if the document showed Brussels were positioning itself as a rival to NATO, Mr Hookem said: “I’m not sure whether in reality it will be a threat to NATO.
“Although I am sure it would like to be, because NATO are competent.”
The latest news about Brussels’ vision for the future of Europe’s defence strategies comes on the eve of commemorations to mark 100 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme.
The warning of a European army was at the core of the Brexit campaign – supporters argued that the bloc has contributed to peace on the continent for decades.
However, military experts fear the force would erode the power of NATO, which has also contributed to stability in Europe.
Several European politicians have voiced support for the creation of an EU army and the latest strategy document suggests Brussels is pushing ahead with plans for further integration on defence.
Downing Street had previously stated there was “no prospect of an EU army”. SOURCE