NATO Worried About France’s Commitment Following Right-Wing Gains

The claim comes shortly after the right-wing National Rally came out ahead in the first round of a snap election in France

Concerns are growing among NATO members about France’s future commitment to the alliance and its support for Ukraine, according to Euractiv, which cites unnamed diplomats. This anxiety arises from the recent performance of the far-right National Rally (RN) in France’s snap election.

The RN, known for its questioning of NATO’s purpose and its aid to Ukraine, secured 33% of the vote in the first round, placing it ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble bloc, which garnered 20%.

The second round is scheduled for July 7, with projections showing the RN potentially winning up to 280 seats in the National Assembly. Macron called for this unexpected election after the RN’s success in last month’s European Parliament elections.

Diplomats quoted by Euractiv on Thursday expressed concern about the RN’s repeated criticisms of Macron’s foreign policy, specifically regarding military aid to Ukraine.

Even if the RN ends up in opposition, its influence in the French Parliament is expected to be substantial, Euractiv notes. 

According to one source, the new leadership in Paris might opt for a “soft exit” from NATO, withdrawing from the bloc’s military command, a step with historical precedent in France.

In 1966, under President Charles de Gaulle, France withdrew from NATO’s integrated military command, despite being a founding member. This decision was only reversed in 2009.  

The RN might advocate for a “soft and subtle” exit, potentially reducing the number and qualifications of French troops participating in NATO missions, military expert Michel Duclos told Euractiv. France holds a significant position within NATO, heavily influencing the organization’s long-term strategy.

Marine Le Pen, the former leader of the RN and head of the party’s parliamentary faction, has consistently criticized Macron’s stance on the Ukraine conflict, arguing that France risks being drawn into a war with Russia. The party has also advocated for dialogue with Russia on shared interests.

However, the current RN leader, Jordan Bardella, has taken a less confrontational approach to NATO, stating on Friday that “there will be no exit from NATO integrated military command while the war is on.”