German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her Italian counterpart Roberta Pinotti attend a European Union foreign and defence ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman
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EU ministers approved a common defense plan on Monday despite sharp differences over how far it should go, as Donald Trump's election win stoked fears about Washington's commitment to European security.EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insisted the plans -- to boost the bloc's ability to respond to external conflicts, help partner countries build their defense capabilities and protect EU citizens -- would not undermine NATO.The issue exposed a rift between the bloc's two biggest military powers, France and Britain, which is set to leave the EU in two years after the Brexit vote in June.Mogherini insisted after Sunday's session that ministers backed a "very strong partnership" with Trump, but that the EU would have to move on with its own plans nonetheless.EU diplomats say Brexit and now Trump's election have put defense firmly on the agenda.
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