Monday

25th Sep 2017

France signals full return to NATO

France will take a decision by the end of this year on returning to NATO's military structures, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said at a NATO summit in Bucharest on Thursday (3 April).

"At the end of the French presidency [of the EU] the moment will have come to conclude this process and to take the necessary decisions for France to take its full place in NATO structures," Mr Sarkozy was reported as saying by The Guardian.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

France left NATO's military command in 1966, when the then president Charles de Gaulle withdrew the French forces protesting against what he saw as ever growing US dominance within the organisation.

But on Thursday, Mr Sarkozy said that the door was now open for France to have a "strong renewal of its relations with NATO."

The French president also confirmed his country would send 700 soldiers to Afghanistan to strengthen NATO troops on the ground.

France could reintegrate into NATO's military command during the summit meeting of the organisation next year. The meeting will mark the 60th anniversary of the Alliance and is to be jointly hosted by Strasbourg in France and Kehl in Germany.

Macedonia disappointed by NATO rejection

Meanwhile, the Macedonian delegation decided to leave the NATO meeting a day earlier after Greece blocked a membership offer to the small ex-Yugoslav country, due to a 17-year-old dispute over its name.

Greece had the support of some other NATO states, notably France.

"We all hope that a solution can be found for FYROM, but we are at the sides of our Greek allies. When one wants to join NATO, a minimum of efforts have to be done," French president Sarkozy said in his speech.

The US, on the other hand, has backed Macedonia and the two countries will within the next two weeks sign a special bilateral agreement, under which Washington will guarantee Macedonia's safety, according to Macedonian news agency Makfax.

Athens refuses to recognise the constitutional name of its neighbour – Republic of Macedonia - as its northern province is also called Macedonia. UN-sponsored talks on the matter are still ongoing between the two states.

"This is a great disappointment that will impede the stability in the Balkans," said Nikola Dimitrov, Macedonia's negotiator in the name dispute talks with Greece.

"We are punished not because we didn't do our job, but because of who we are," he told the Associated Press.

For his part, the country's president Branko Crvenkovski said: "The sole obstacle which prevented Macedonia from obtaining a NATO membership invitation is the frustrations of our southern neighbour Greece, which has raised its irrational position to such a level to abuse the right of veto as Alliance's member," Macedonian news agency MIA reported.

An opening for Serbia

Two other Balkan countries, Croatia and Albania received invitations to join the military alliance as planned, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have received invitations "to raise the level of their cooperation with NATO from Partnership for Peace to intensified dialogue," the host of the summit, Romanian president Traian Basescu announced on Thursday.

"Unlike its neighbours, Serbia made no request for this, but there was insistence inside the alliance to guarantee Serbia ties, once it decides to put an end to its isolation from NATO," he told the press.

Merkel survives election 'earthquake'

Christian-democrat leader set to rule Germany together with liberals and greens, but with a new troublemaker - the AfD party - on the scene.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

May seeks EU grace period

Eagerly awaited Brexit speech was short on details, but May pledged to honour financial commitments while calling for a two-year transition deal after the UK left.

Hungary and Poland defy EU authority

Hungary and Poland have said they "don't want a mixed population", amid a tug-of-war with the Commission on migrants and rule of law.

Quiet showdown in Barcelona

Thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets, in protest against the Spanish government's efforts to prevent the independence referendum. Both sides know that violence would go against their cause.

May seeks EU grace period

Eagerly awaited Brexit speech was short on details, but May pledged to honour financial commitments while calling for a two-year transition deal after the UK left.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel wins fourth term, exit polls say
  2. EU to hail 'aspirations' of former Soviet states
  3. UK says credit downgrade was wrong
  4. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  5. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  6. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  7. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  8. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel