However, there is opposition to rejoining Nato in France within parliament and from the public, with critics saying they do not want to forfeit France's ability to make its own military decisions.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Nato's secretary-general, has previously assured France that it would lose no sovereignty if it returned to the alliance's military command, and promised it would be awarded key posts within the organisation.

France, which currently remains outside Nato's nuclear group and planning committee, has increased its role in recent years, with French troops involved in the bloc's operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

The French parliament will hold a no-confidence vote in government over the Nato plans on March 17. But as Sarkozy's party holds a majority, the vote is unlikely to threaten the government.