Saturday

28th May 2022

Sarkozy: I'm not cut out to lead an EU institution

Forced to reflect that this week's EU summit might be his last as he trails in polls ahead of April elections, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he does not have the temperament to lead an EU institution.

"I don't think I have the qualities to be a good European Commission or European Council President," he said in Brussels on Friday (2 March) in response to a press question on his potential future career.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Sarkozy at work in Paris. The French leader told press in Brussels he is not an EU kind of man (Photo: elysee.fr)

With the first round of elections taking place on 22 April, Sarkozy is polling 3.5 points behind Socialist contender Francois Hollande.

A second round vote, on 6 May, sees Hollande on about 56.6 percent, according to an Ifop poll published Thursday, compared with 43.5 percent for Sarkozy.

Sarkozy - known for his frenetic style and brusque put downs when irritated - indicated he is not cut out for running either the European Council (where the president has a largely administrative role) or the European Commission (which calls for collegial decisions).

He noted that Herman Van Rompuy - freshly re-elected as EU Council president for a second term - is a "good" president because he does not overshadow leaders.

"I am sure I would do it less well than him," Sarkozy noted.

He went on to damn Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the commission, with faint praise: "As to Mr Barroso, I can't compare myself with him. He is at the commission."

Cameron's letter

Sarkozy also had fun at David Cameron's expense after the British leader complained that growth ideas he laid out in a letter with 11 other leaders were brushed aside at the summit.

Sarkozy said he is glad that "our British friends love Europe so much" that they send letters.

The humour masked a continuing fundamental difference between London and Paris.

Noting that some 90 percent of Cameron's letter had been included in the final conclusions of the summit, Sarkozy said there are some elements that are "not possible."

These included the tendency - "always present among our English friends" - to further deregulation. The French leader said he would not countenance a new law opening up the EU services market - a move seen by critics as allowing a rush to the bottom in terms of social protection and wages, but by its proponents as potentially unlocking thousands of new jobs.

In the end, Sarkozy's will prevailed.

The summit conclusions speak vaguely about looking forward to the commission's report on the current services law. The letter of the 12 referred to the possibility of drawing up a new law in the area.

Sarkozy pokes fun at Cameron: 'We need you'.
Sarkozy: UK decision has created 'two Europes'

The results of last week's summit shows that there are now two Europes, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said, following a deal that saw Britain as the only member state refuse to take part in a fiscal pact.

Sarkozy: 'Too many foreigners in France'

A combative Nicolas Sarkozy during a TV show on Tuesday said there are too many immigrants in France in a bid to woo voters from the far right.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us