The hopes that France may return to the integrated NATO military structures have given way to assumptions that France may take a long time in coming back. The current low point in European security reform is often overlooked, as NATO has gone on to reform its command structures and to implement the admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and now is focusing on further reforms to be adopted in Washington in 1999. The prospect of a fast reintegration is still possible if the EU remains politically weak and security threats around the rim of Europe increase. But the incentives for French closure with NATO may actually weaken if the EU should strengthen further the fabric of its integration. The launch of the monetary union moves the markers of European integration to an extent not seen since the European Single Act of 1986. If the efforts of 11 EU members pay off, and if no big security threat emerges meanwhile, the political base for a European defence identity will be fortified.