27th Nov 2022

Sarkozy has support in Berlin, London and Brussels

Berlin, Brussels and London are quietly hoping that Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right candidate in the French presidential elections, will win on 6 May.

According to a report in today's Financial Times, German chancellor Angela Merkel, UK prime minister Tony Blair and Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Commission, have privately discussed the idea of forming a "strategic partnership" with Mr Sarkozy.

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

The French politician's pro-American stance - he remarked last year that he is happy to be called "Sarkozy the American" - would fit well with the pro-transatlantic outlook favoured by those three politicians.

In addition, Mr Sarkozy's proposals for economic reform are seen as more likely to get France out of the economic doldrums in the long run than those of Ms Royal, the socialist candidate, who he faces in the second round run-off in just over a week's time.

Mr Sarkozy has promised to cut taxes, deregulate the labour market by making it easier to fire people and replace just half of retiring civil servants. While he is not above protectionism, his programme fits better with the free market tendencies strongly pushed by the current European Commission.

For her part, Ms Royal has promised to up the minimum wage, increase spending on pensions and increase job security.

Mr Sarkozy also fits more comfortably into the current EU treaty schema being proposed in many capitals under which the draft EU constitution - rejected by French and Dutch voters two years ago - would be pared down and then put to national parliaments for ratification, rather than the more politically risky public poll.

Ms Royal, however, has said she wants to add to the treaty and said the French people should decide once again on whether to accept it or not - a move that would force other countries to follow suit.

Mr Sarkozy continues to lead Ms Royal in the polls. He came through the first round with 31.1 percent of the vote to Ms Royal's 25.9 percent, while three polls published yesterday (26 April) by Ifop, BVA and Ipsos SA gave the conservative politician a six point lead over his left wing challenger (53% to 47%) for next Sunday's second round.

But while some capitals may be secretly hoping Mr Sarkozy does win. It was not all plain-sailing with him in the past. As finance minister he riled Brussels by coming to the engineering company Alstom's aid when it was in trouble and promoted "national champions" as a way of protecting French companies from foreign takeover.

Meanwhile, last month, he reacted to the takeover of Arcelor, Europe's largest steel maker, by the Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, by calling it a "mistake" and promised to have a "real industrial policy" if elected - remarks that were greeted with dismay in Brussels' liberal headquarters.

Sweden says 'no' to EU asylum relocation pledges

Sweden won't make any pledges to relocate asylum seekers under a French-inspired EU plan because there is no legal basis, says Sweden's ambassador to the EU. But Sweden's new right-wing government is also tightening migration rules.


Enough talk, only rights can eliminate patriarchal violence

We're asking the EU to stop hiding behind pinkwashed slogans and finally walk the talk by providing all necessary legal tools to guarantee women their rights, say two Left MEPs, for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'

Ukraine and a looming economic recession is set to dominate the upcoming Swedish EU presidency, which takes over at the start of next year. Sweden's ambassador to the EU, Lars Danielsson, laid out some of its priorities.

EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo

The EU executive, on the other hand, is expected to approve Hungary's recovery plan, worth €5.8bn, but only would disburse actual money if Hungary delivers on some 27 key reforms.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. Sweden says 'no' to EU asylum relocation pledges
  2. The 'proof' problem with EU sanctions — and how to fix it
  3. The EU gas cap: will the bottle ever be 'uncorked'?
  4. Enough talk, only rights can eliminate patriarchal violence
  5. Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'
  6. EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo
  7. 'No substance' price ceiling for gas leaves everyone disgruntled
  8. Paying consumers who save most energy could tame gas prices

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us