The President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, has proposed the creation of a 100,000-strong EU army designed to work with NATO.

The force would be available to respond to trouble anywhere in the world, or to defend Europe.

Mr Kaczynski told a news conference in Lithuania 'the EU had problems to collect 8,000 soldiers for a mission in Lebanon. A situation like this should not continue.'

The lack of such a force was creating practical problems for member states, he said.

However, he also said his idea was for the future, and 'not a question of the next two or three years'.

Mr Kaczynski said he hoped to discuss the matter with British Prime Minister Tony Blair during a trip to Britain, which starts today.

Mr Kaczynski said he had spoken twice about it to European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso and his brother, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, had raised the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a visit to Berlin last week.