France’s New Approach to NATO

France’s return to NATO’s integrated military structure rescinds a policy Charles de Gaulle enacted more than 40 years ago, and should put to rest the idea that France has been attempting to create an alternative to the Alliance through the European defense project. Indeed, France's return may just help reverse NATO's gradual slide into irrelevance.

PARIS – What will be the consequences of France’s return to NATO’s integrated military structure?

The Allies are quietly satisfied, but nobody expects major changes in France military contribution: in the last ten years, it has been on par with the other major European allies. The reason is simple: since France’s return to the Military Committee in 1994, its position within NATO has allowed for full participation in the Alliance’s military and political activities. 

In Paris, the move has not in itself raised major political opposition for two main reasons.