France’s strategy in the Baltic region: military and political aspectsAbstract
This article examines the current military-political strategy of France in the Baltic region. This area has not traditionally been among the main priorities of French diplomacy. However, under President Emmanuel Macron, France pays closer attention to the Baltic Sea due to the growing tension between Russia and the West. According to France’s key strategic documents, the government assesses the present-day situation mainly in a negative way, considering Russian actions as the main reason for the militarization of the region and expressing its readiness to show solidarity with NATO allies. On this basis, Paris is gradually increasing its military presence in the Baltic region, which now exceeds its contingents in the Middle East and the Sahel. For example, French forces still participate in the NATO air policing programme as well as in naval exercises, keeping the troops in Estonia within the Lynx mission. France’s further activity in the region includes enhanced cooperation with Sweden and Finland after they accede to NATO, an already planned increase in military contingent in the Baltic States in 2023, and the development of the European Political Community project. The author concludes that even if France’s presence in the Baltic does not yet pose a critical threat to Russian security, Paris’s policy is becoming more pro-Atlantic to the detriment of previous statements about ‘European sovereignty’ and dialogue with Russia.