NATO chief expects France to remain 'staunch' ally

French President Emmanuel Macron sent shockwaves across Europe on Sunday by dissolving parliament.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a doorstep statement during a meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on June 13, 2024.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a doorstep statement during a meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on June 13, 2024.Photo | AFP

BRUSSELS: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday he expects France to stay a key member of the Western military alliance, even if a far-right government comes to power after upcoming elections.

"Regardless of the different parties elected and the different majorities in the parliaments, we have always seen that NATO allies have remained committed to the alliance because this is in the security interest of each and every ally," Stoltenberg said at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels.

"So I expect France to remain a staunch and important ally also in the future."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a doorstep statement during a meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on June 13, 2024.
Far-right gains in the EU election deal stunning defeats to France's Macron and Germany's Scholz

French President Emmanuel Macron sent shockwaves across Europe on Sunday by dissolving parliament and calling a snap vote after his liberal party was trounced by the far-right National Rally (RN) at EU polls.

Macron on Wednesday accused the RN, led by rival Marine Le Pen, of being "ambiguous" about Russia and aims to "leave NATO".

Le Pen's party has previously advocated to leave NATO's US-led military command structure, but not to quit the alliance as a whole.

More recently, RN leaders have suggested they would not change France's status in NATO while Russia's war on Ukraine is ongoing.

French leader Charles de Gaulle previously withdrew France from NATO's military command in 1966 due to complaints over US domination.

The decision -- which saw NATO move its headquarters from Paris to Brussels -- was only reversed by former president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a doorstep statement during a meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on June 13, 2024.
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