European Union defense ministers are set to dust off an old proposal to create a 5,000-strong joint military force capable of deploying rapidly to crisis zones, a senior EU official said.

The plan is backed by at least 14 of the bloc’s 27 member states, including France and Germany. It aims at bolstering the EU’s military capabilities as part of a review of its overall strategy to be agreed upon in 2022.

The defense ministers will meet on Thursday to discuss whether the EU should create a brigade of 5,000 soldiers, possibly with ships and aircraft, to help democratic foreign governments needing urgent help, the official said.

A rapid response EU military force was first proposed in 1999.

European defense ministers will discuss creating a rapid response military force under the banner of the EU. (Reuters)

The meeting will be chaired by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who has berated the EU for its failure to act in several instances, particularly in failing states such as Libya.

Recently, Ukraine asked for Western assistance when Russia massed 100,000 troops on its border

Many Members States Favor the Proposal

The 14 members of the EU states supporting this proposal thus far are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain.

“Borrell has always said the EU needs to learn the language of power,” the EU official said to Reuters, referring in part to military force. Borrell is also expected to push for an EU training mission to be sent to help the Mozambican army, the official added.