British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon arrives at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville(reuters_tickers)
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Britain will continue blocking a European Union army as long as it remains a member of the bloc as the new force would undermine NATO military alliance, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Tuesday.
France and Germany hope that Britain's vote to leave the EU, as well as London's need for goodwill in its exit negotiations, will leave the path open for common defence proposals.
"Leaving the EU does not mean we are stepping back from our commitment to the security of our continent," Fallon told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England.
"We will lead in NATO, the cornerstone of our defence, putting troops onto its eastern border next year. But we will go on blocking an EU Army, which would simply undermine NATO."
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper)