Thursday, 3 April 2008

Sarkozy on France in NATO

President Sarkozy's staff have circulated a speech he will give in Bucharest. According to reports this confirms that France will send a battalion of troops to the East of Afghanistan, around 800 men.

It is also reported that Sarkozy will say that France will decide on reentry into NATO's military structures by the end of this year, towards the end of the French Presidency of the EU. Strengthening the EU's military bodies in the European Security and Defence Policy is a key aim for France during its Presidency. Sarkozy and other French leaders have also stated that a strengthened European defence component inside NATO is a pre-requisite for French particpation in the Alliance's military structures.

Other unconfirmed sources suggest that while France will take its full place in the Defence Planning Committee, it will hold back from participation in the Nuclear Planning Group - preferring to retain full independence in the field of nuclear weapons. It was, of course, American refusal to confirm procedures for the launch of nuclear weapons from French soil that led to General de Gaulle withdrawing from NATO in 1966.

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