Monday

24th Sep 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Agenda

Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK

The EU will be watching closely how the political dynamics of Theresa May's Conservative party conference starting next week will influence Brexit negotiations. MEPs might also be forced to release their office expenses.

Feature

Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit

Decisions in the EU are a complicated process of intense negotiations, quid pro quos and horse-trading, until an agreement can finally be reached. But that didn't happen in Salzburg.

Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate

Issues of sovereignty remain entrenched following a proposal by the European Commission to expand the EU's border and coast guard, also known as Frontex, to 10,000. But EU leaders maintain a "basic consensus" of support had been reached.

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Agenda

Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK

The EU will be watching closely how the political dynamics of Theresa May's Conservative party conference starting next week will influence Brexit negotiations. MEPs might also be forced to release their office expenses.

Feature

Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit

Decisions in the EU are a complicated process of intense negotiations, quid pro quos and horse-trading, until an agreement can finally be reached. But that didn't happen in Salzburg.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us