Thursday, 3 April 2008

When Will France Decide?

France 24 has an interesting report on the possibility of French re-entry into NATO's integrated military command.

France could return to NATO’s integrated military command next year, said French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the alliance’s summit in Bucharest.

"Let Europe's defense pole advance and we will continue to advance toward NATO. I repeat, these are two things that go together, not one or the other, so let's wait for the summit" in 2009, he said.

According to a speech handed out by his office, Sarkozy had been ready to tell NATO leaders here that France would decide when to reintegrate after its presidency of the European Union ends on December 31.

"After the French presidency, the time will have come to conclude this process, and to take the necessary decisions for France to take its full place in the structures of NATO," the prepared speech said.

Sarkozy dropped the sentence when he delivered his remarks, but later told reporters that he stood by the text of the speech.

So why did he drop the text? And what really are the chances of significant developments of the ESDP and EU military capabilities in the next 12 months? Is this French reintegration going to go the way of President Chirac's initiative in the 1990s?

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