Sarkozy’s decision to rejoin NATO’s integrated military structure appears to be a historic turning-point both in French-NATO relations and in France’s traditional diplomacy, which seems to be abandoning its “grandeur”.
However, Sarkozy’s decision could be seen more as a formality than a political change and shows both rupture and continuity. It should indeed be contextualized within the broader process in act in French-NATO relations since the end of the Cold War and in the new administration’s defence strategy.
Furthermore, this change directly affects further European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) development. In fact, while France defines European security as a foreign policy priority, its re-joining the NATO military structure poses several threats to the ESDP, first of all regarding its legitimacy and necessity.
In the end, the president’s new decision evidences, de facto, not only European but also French limits of independence where security is concerned, and reveals the political and strategic importance of the Alliance in the new international scenario.