In particular, the ministers asked for "more capable forces, modern capabilities and an efficient defense industry," which they believed would provide for a stronger European defense technological and industrial base, according to the letter.
In September, France and Germany laid out their vision of EU defense, with an emphasis on a joint EU military headquarters managing overseas crisis missions.
Later that month, Italy presented a defense initiative, under which the EU counties should unite in a coalition to share forces, data and capabilities and, eventually, establish a joint military force. The Italian proposal also stressed that such efforts should not detract resources from EU states' commitments within NATO.
As the proposal was made, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the EU states should concentrate on relative steps that can be made within the framework of the existing treaties and agreements.