German chancellor Angela Merkel has described Emmanuel Macron's criticism of NATO as "drastic" hours after the French president said that the transatlantic alliance was "experiencing brain death" because a lack of coordination and an increasingly unpredicatable U.S. White House.
"The French president has chosen drastic words. That is not my point of view regarding cooperation within NATO. I think such a sweeping blow is not neccessary," Merkel said, speaking alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin.
Macron, speaking to British newspaper The Economist, said that there was a there is a lack of strategic coordination between European allies on the one hand and the United States and Turkey, with NATO's second largest military, on the other.
Turkey defied its NATO allies last month by launching a military intervention in Syria.
"What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO," Macron said.
Asked whether he still believed in the Article Five collective defence guarantee of NATO's treaty, under which NATO countries are expected to defend each other militarily, Macron answered: "I don't know," although he said the United States would remain an ally.
Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, also leapt to the defence of NATO, which was founded in 1949, branding it the most important alliance "in all recorded history." Pompeo is in Berlin marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
But Macron's were well received in Russia, with Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, describing them as "golden words."
Britain is due to host the NATO summit on December 4 in London.