Saturday, Oct 25, 2008
Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of making a power grab to install himself as president of the European Union, a post that no longer exists after the Irish rejected the Lisbon Treaty in June.
The French president, who holds the EU’s rotating six month presidency until the end of December, has dominated the international stage following the Russian invasion of Georgia in August and the global financial crisis in recent weeks.
But he has dismayed Brussels diplomats and angered the Czech Republic, which takes over the EU presidency in January, by suggesting that countries belonging to the euro, with an invitation extended to Britain, should form an emergency “economic government” with President Sarkozy at its head.
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“What is important is that the impetus, the energy of the French EU presidency remains,” said Jean-Pierre Jouyet, French Europe minister, in defence of the plan.
“Do we want to return to business as usual? Or do we want to capitalise on the impetus?”
Alexandr Vondra, the Czech vice-prime minister, has criticised Mr Sarkozy’s plans to extend his time at the head of the EU into next year.
“Any speculations on extension of the current presidency are groundless and unacceptable,” he said.
This article was posted: Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 4:30 am