France, EU and NATO: Fresh views with the Sarkozy Presidency?


In partnership with the Richard Lounsbery Foundation and the Association France-Amériques, the European Security Programme organised on the 14-15 February 2008 a seminar in Paris entitled: “France, EU and NATO: Fresh views with the Sarkozy Presidency?”


Project Focus


France’s relationship to NATO has long been shaped by the country’s defence of its conception of national sovereignty.  Whilst a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1949, President De Gaulle took France out of the Alliance’s integrated military structure in 1966 after refusing to integrate France’s air defences within the NATO system and the positioning of nuclear missile launch sites in France. To a large extent, France’s reaction at the time and since has been perceived as a bid to preserve the country’s autonomy of decision with regards to the United States.


Nonetheless, over the years and in practice France’s role within NATO has been a full one. With 3,000 troops currently under NATO command in Kosovo and Afghanistan, France is overall the third contributor of troops to NATO military operations. France also plays an active role in NATO exercises, supporting the rotations of the NATO Response Force (NRF), and in September 2007 took command of the 16,000 KFOR troops operating in Kosovo.


What would be the implications of France’s potential return to NATO’s integrated military structure, and what effect would this have on the country's defence policies with regards to ESDP? As one of the specific focus elements of the French national commission tasked with formulating a new Defence White Paper due to be delivered in March 2008, this question is one that naturally draws much attention amongst allies and European partners.




Conference Programme



Session One      NATO and the EU : Strengthening the bridge between European and Transatlantic partners


Chairman: Robert Walter MP, Chairman Defence Committee European Security and Defence Assembly & UK Member of Parliament

Lieutenant General David Leakey, Director General of the EU Military Staff

Bruce Weinrod, US Secretary of Defence Representative, Europe and Defense Advisor to the U.S. Mission to NATO


Session Two    A fresh perspective? : Reviewing French European and Transatlantic military and foreign affairs.


Chairman: Jonathan Eyal, Director of Studies, Royal United Services Institute

Michel Miraillet, Director of the Délégation aux Affaires Stratégiques, French MOD

Guillaume Schlumberger, Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique


Session Three    Assessing France’s current and future role within NATO


Chairman: Admiral Jean Bétermier, President of the Section Sécurité Défense, France – Amériques

Andrew Mathewson, Director of Policy for International Organisations, UK MOD

HE Richard Duqué, Permanent Representative of France to the North Atlantic Council, NATO


Session Four     France, EU and NATO :  Fresh Views with the Sarkozy Presidency?


Conclusions of the day and perspectives offered by HE Mr Jacques Andréani, former Ambassador of France to the United States of America and President of the United States section of France – Amériques, and HE Sir Paul Lever, former Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Germany and Chairman of the Royal United Services Institute.



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