Merkel says France rejoining NATO command "of great importance"
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said French President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to return France to NATO's military command structure will strengthen the European component of the western alliance, Xinhua reported.
Calling it "a courageous decision," Merkel told reporters after a German-Franco summit in Berlin that the French move "will strengthen the European component of the alliance, NATO, and is also of great importance in view of the improved and intensified European Security and Defense Policy in coherence with NATO."
Sarkozy also said at the joint press conference that he believes that France's return to NATO military command would serve to increase Europe's influence in the alliance as well as the German-Franco axis within the framework of NATO.
He also stressed that a common European security policy " represents no risk for the United States, but a triumph."
France withdrew from NATO's military structures in 1966 under then President Charles de Gaulle to ensure the country's independence in foreign policy.