The idea of a European nuclear deterrent has been a regular feature of the security debate on the continent for more than 50 years, to the point of sometimes being called an “elephant in the room.” In the early 1960s, as Europeans demanded a greater say in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) strategy, there were plans for a nuclear multilateral force under European control.
Later in the decade, questions were raised by several countries about the possibility that the forthcoming Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) would preserve a European nuclear option. In the early 1970s, Bonn consulted with Paris about a possible trade-off between the two countries—French nuclear protection in return for a German financial contribution. In the 1990s, as the European Union (EU) was created, France declared itself open to consultations among members on nuclear deterrence issues.
Source: The Washington Quarterly