NATO's secretary-general and the German Defence minister have both reacted coldly to a proposal by France to link European and French firepower.
“We already have a disincentive in place today, NATO, which is the best guarantee of security in Europe,” NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said during the Security Conference in Munich.
“The 29 NATO allies work together to ensure peace every day and that’s not just a promise, it’s been that way for decades,” he added.
“We ensure peace together with the United States and they have even deployed their weapons in Europe. The Europeans provide us with bases and infrastructure,” Stoltenberg continued.
The French president offered the Europeans “strategic dialogue” on the “French nuclear disincentive’s” role in European security. This move was aimed at Germany in particular.
This could happen through communal disincentive exercises or the use of European bases by French strategic forces.
German Defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is cautious about the proposal, saying there was no question of undermining the American nuclear umbrella.
“I would like to insist that the protection of many European countries is guaranteed by NATO, by the American nuclear umbrella,” she said.
“If we reinforce Europe’s defence, we have to reinforce the European presence within NATO,” she observed.
She also said the French proposal is also rather vague. “We need to know exactly what it involves,” the minister insisted.
She said, for now, the only thing we know for certain is that “the French do not want to place their nuclear arsenal under a European command in any circumstances.”
Germany is also concerned about being forced to help finance the renovation of France’s weaponry if disincentives become shared.
The Brussels Times