The paper says: "We are convinced that the EU must set up, within a framework yet to-be-defined, true civilian-military structures to plan and conduct missions and operations." It adds: "We should show preparedness to hold available, train, deploy and sustain in theatre the necessary civilian and military means."
The communique also calls for more "pooling and sharing" of EU defence hardware in the context of crisis-related budget cuts. It identifies "space, ballistic-missile defence, drones, air-to-air refuelling, airlift capacities, medical support to operations [and] software defined radio" as pooling areas.
The reference to new "civilian-military structures" comes after the UK last year blocked the creation of a new operational headquarters (OHQ) in Brussels for EU military missions.
Britain's Telegraph newspaper earlier this week cited a "senior French source" as saying that EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton supports the idea of an OHQ, which will become a "ripe fruit" in the "long-term" as EU military operations multiply. French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the communique is designed to "create a movement" ahead of an EU summit on defence in 2013.
For his part, Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski said: "If the EU wants to become a superpower, and Poland supports this, then we must have the capability to exert influence in our neighbourhood ... Sometimes we must use force to back our diplomacy."