Germany is to push for progress towards a European army by advocating a joint headquarters and shared military assets, according to defence plans that could ricochet into Britain's EU referendum campaign.
Although Berlin has long paid lip-service to forming a "European defense union", the white paper is one of the most significant for Germany in recent years and may be seized by anti-integration Brexit campaigners as a sign where the bloc is heading.
Initially scheduled to emerge shortly before the June 23 referendum vote but now probably delayed to July, the draft paper seen by the Financial Times outlines steps to gradually co-ordinate Europe's patchwork of national militaries and embark on permanent co-operation under common structures.
In this and other areas, its tone reflects Germany's growing clout and confidence in pursuing a foreign policy backed by elements of hard power. Initiatives range from strengthening cyberwarfare abilities to contentious proposals to relax the postwar restrictions on army operations within Germany.