Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has threatened to walk out of London’s G20 summit if France’s demands for stricter financial regulation are rejected, it has been reported.
A deal to increase regulation to prevent a repeat of the current banking crisis is to be a key feature of the summit but France is pushing for a global financial regulator.
The move has been vehemently opposed by Britain and the United States, and Gordon Brown has dismissed the idea as ridiculous.
However, hours before world leaders were due to arrive in Britain for the summit, Mr Sarkozy’s advisers suggested that the French leader was likely to be confrontational at the G20.
They said France would not accept a summit that produces a “false success with language that sounds good but contains no commitments”.
Asked if this meant a possible walkout, Xavier Musca, Mr Sarkozy’s deputy chief of staff for economic affairs, told The Times: “A basic rule with nuclear deterrence is that you do not say at what point you will use the weapon.”
Mr Sarkozy, who blames the “Anglo-Saxons” for causing the economic crisis, told his ministers last week that he would leave Mr Brown’s summit “if it does not work out”.