European Union leaders are seeking to improve their defense cooperation in the face of dwindling military budgets and continued dependence on the United States for common security.

British Prime Minister David Cameron came straight from World War I's battlefields in western Belgium on Thursday to tell a summit of the 28 EU leaders to stand together to meet new defense challenges, even if he rejected the pooling of resources under a common EU flag.

At the same time, French President Francois Hollande used his country's military actions in the Central African Republic to underscore the need for common EU funding to back up the costly military operations of a single member state.

Cameron said "we are making good progress" on closer alignment.