The EU has launched various initiatives to make its military spending more coherent and efficient, but former German defence minister von der Leyen said the transatlantic alliance would remain responsible for European collective security "without any question".
"The European Union will never be a military alliance. The European Union is completely different," she told reporters after the European Parliament approved her new commission team.
"I see many, many fields where I do not see NATO but the European Union is called upon," she added, pointing to the bloc's "huge tool box of instruments" including trade, development aid and humanitarian assistance.
In his Economist interview, Macron said allies should "reassess the reality of what NATO is" in light of US President Donald Trump's apparent ambivalence about the alliance, adding that he believed "Europe has the capacity to defend itself".
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