US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has urged Europeans to put aside their differences with the US over Iraq and work together to fight terrorism.
Rumsfeld once referred to Germany and France as 'old Europe'
He told top defence officials at a conference in Germany that one nation could not defeat extremists alone.
Germany was opposed to the war on Iraq but Mr Rumsfeld praised its contribution to Iraqi reconstruction.
Germany's Defence Minister Peter Struck suggested the US and the European Union should establish direct co-ordination.
He said the US should update its relationship with the EU "which in its current form does justice neither to the Union's growing importance nor to the new demands on trans-Atlantic co-operation".
Mr Rumsfeld told delegates at the Munich conference: "While there have been differences over Iraq, such issues among longtime friends are not new."
"But we have always been able to resolve the toughest issues," he said.
"It will take the co-operation of many nations to stop the proliferation of dangerous weapons... and it surely takes a community of nations to gather intelligence about extremist networks, to break up financial support lines, or to apprehend suspected terrorists," the US defence secretary said.
He said sometimes action needed to be taken quickly and could not wait for Nato consensus.
"The mission defines the coalition, but were you to reverse it and say the coalition defines the mission, that would have meant nothing would have happened in Liberia if you're talking about that Nato coalition, or Haiti or any number of other activities," Mr Rumsfeld said.
His German counterpart agreed.
Nato "is no longer the primary venue where trans-Atlantic partners discuss and coordinate strategies," Mr Struck said.
For this, he suggested the establishment of a high-ranking commission to study the issue and propose solutions.
"This panel should submit a report to the heads of state and government of Nato and the European Union by the beginning of 2006 on the basis of its analysis."
Mr Rumsfeld went to the Munich conference after a surprise visit to Iraq - the most senior US official to visit Iraq since the 30 January vote.
At the same event in 2003, he made headlines by dismissing Germany and France as "Old Europe" for opposing the looming war against Iraq, causing a deterioration in relations with those countries.
As he began his speech, Mr Rumsfeld referred to his 'Old Europe' phrase.
"When I first mentioned I might be travelling in France and Germany it raised some eyebrows."
"One wag said it ought to be an interesting trip after all that has been said. I thought for a moment and then I replied: 'Oh, that was the old Rumsfeld.'."