French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has pledged, if she wins the election, to withdraw the country from NATO’s Integrated Military Command and to work on “strategic rapprochement” between the alliance and Russia.
During a press conference on Wednesday, the far-right National Rally candidate who in the past voiced support for leaving NATO, clarified her current position on France’s membership in the alliance.
Saying that she would like “to dispel any misunderstanding,” Le Pen explained that her intention was to return to France’s policy between 1966 and 2009, when France was not involved in NATO’s military affairs but remained a part of its political structure. The presidential candidate pre-empted the likely criticism of her statements, saying that such a stance on NATO membership would “in no way” mean “a submission to Moscow” but rather would allow her not to place French-armed forces or weapons under any foreign command, whether NATO’s one or a future European entity.
“I will therefore propose to leave not NATO, but its integrated command, as was the case from 1966 to 2009,” she said.