Published on April 21, 2022
For all 30 allies, together with France since its free accession to the Treaty of Washington in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) stays the inspiration of their collective defence. By advantage of Article 5, which states that an assault on one ally is an assault on all of the allies, NATO has deterred any main standard motion on an ally’s territory because the finish of the Second World War. So it’s a main achievement for the defence of each Europe and France, and has enabled us to make sure our prosperity, our safety and the event of the European enterprise shielded from the Soviet menace.
Over the final 30 years because the finish of the Cold War, NATO has confirmed this position, for instance instantly after the 11 September assaults, by means of its engagement in Afghanistan and its contribution to the battle in opposition to terrorism. It has tailored by taking over new obligations, particularly when it comes to disaster administration and lasting stabilization within the Balkans following the wars within the former Yugoslavia. Today, the return of struggle to Europe with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reminds us of the legitimacy and necessity of NATO’s motion as a necessary discussion board of collective defence, but additionally as a framework for a collective dialogue on de-escalation. As President Macron recalled in his speech of two March 2022, neither France nor Europe, neither Ukraine nor the Atlantic Alliance wished this struggle.
For almost 30 years, NATO has sought to construct a relationship of cooperation with Russia. An settlement, the NATO-Russia Founding Act, defines this framework. In 2014, Russia violated these rules for the primary time. Consequently, NATO suspended its cooperation with Russia. Today, we’re seeing a disruption of European safety and a severe undermining of the worldwide order, each of which threaten our safety. The Alliance has consequently activated NATO’s defence plans by deploying further troopers on its jap flank and summoning highly-prepared response forces. France has responded swiftly and firmly, reiterating its dedication to supporting the allies and people companions most uncovered to Russia’s actions, notably by the use of contributions to strengthening NATO’s posture in Romania, Estonia and Poland.
All these measures are defensive, preventive and proportionate and aimed toward avoiding any escalation. Strengthening the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture is the one measure able to credibly making certain Europeans’ defence. Since its return to the built-in [military] command in 2009, there has by no means been any query of France and its defence coverage changing into subservient to NATO. On the opposite, by studying the teachings of 15 years of engagement within the Balkans after which in Afghanistan it has, due to its return, gained affect inside operations and secured new obligations, like [Allied] Command Transformation in Norfolk and Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, two key posts when it comes to growing functionality and in addition within the service of European efforts and European autonomy on this area.
In the nuclear sphere, France has at all times maintained full independence, with nationwide deterrence taking part in its personal position within the Alliance framework, and has chosen not to participate within the Nuclear Planning Group. President Macron’s public questioning of NATO in sturdy phrases in 2019 started a technique of reflexion on the Alliance’s future and clarification of its strategic path, illustrated by the work of 10 certified specialists together with Hubert Védrine. This work, which can culminate in negotiations on the subsequent Strategic Concept on the Madrid summit in June 2022, sees France selling a refocusing of the Alliance’s prerogatives on its core exercise, the collective defence of the Euro-Atlantic space, absolutely per its founding treaty.
The return of struggle to Europe and the confirmed menace Moscow is posing on the Alliance’s borders can be central components on this strategic overview. This place, which displays each the evaluation of our strategic setting and the expectations of many allies (notably in Eastern Europe), additionally helps make clear NATO’s place in direction of China. Because of the latter’s worrying navy trajectory, the Alliance should construct a shared evaluation of the potential penalties of this improvement on our safety, with out making NATO an anti-Chinese alliance. We due to this fact assist NATO’s agreed place that China’s rise in energy presents “risks and opportunities”, whereas defending the geographical focus of the Alliance’s motion on the Euro-Atlantic space.
These needed debates about adapting the Alliance to a deteriorated strategic setting on no account rule out the emergence of a real Defence Europe. The concurrent work in 2022 on the EU’s Strategic Compass, which was adopted on the European Council, and the Alliance’s Strategic Concept recall and promote the complementary nature of the 2 organizations, which is of central significance given the brand new areas of battle and of sensible cooperation between NATO and the EU, whether or not as regards resilience, our on-line world, the battle in opposition to local weather change or in opposition to the manipulation of data.
This complementarity, primarily based on the respective experience of the EU and NATO, was strengthened instantly after the disaster of confidence revealed by the introduced AUKUS partnership, within the joint assertion issued by Presidents Macron and Biden final autumn (“The United States recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence that contributes positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO.”). This agenda of enhanced cooperation between the EU and NATO, which is on the coronary heart of our present EU Council presidency, is a part of an necessary debate inside the transatlantic relationship.
America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the announcement of the AUKUS partnership powerfully revealed the challenges relating to session and transparency between allies. These occasions under no circumstances made the Alliance out of date, however they emphasised the necessity for clarifications about consultations between allies and the implications to be drawn from them, as French and Europeans, in placing collectively our personal methods. The technique of in-depth consultations with the United States which ensued allowed us to discover a means out of that disaster by securing a sequence of commitments from the Americans on various points that are strategic for France, and recognition of the contribution made by European safety and defence efforts each to world safety and the safety of the transatlantic alliance.
Faced with this strategic context, with this renewed dialogue on safety in Europe, and relating to framing and consolidating a real European defence coverage, we can not name into query France’s continued membership of NATO and the Alliance’s central position in our collective defence with out damaging our nationwide pursuits. Leaving NATO would under no circumstances assist enhance our sovereignty, however as an alternative restrict our freedom of motion in confronting a threatening, altering safety setting. France’s energetic participation in NATO is in keeping with a realistic coverage, which will increase our capabilities for motion and advantages our nationwide and collective safety, in accordance with the basic values and rules to which we’re dedicated and which we share with our European and North American allies./.