Wednesday

16th Oct 2019

Sarkozy launches presidential bid with anti-Turkey stance

Nicolas Sarkozy, the current French interior minister, has been officially confirmed as the centre-right ruling party's candidate for April's presidential election, launching his campaign with the suggestion that "Turkey has no place inside the European Union".

Mr Sarkozy, 51, known as 'Sarko' in the French press, received 98 percent of the votes from members of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) gathered for an internal ballot on Sunday (14 January).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

In his acceptance speech to some 80,000 party supporters, the outspoken politician made what is referred to by analysts as the strongest statement so far on Turkey's European ambitions.

"I want to say that Europe must give itself borders, that not all countries have a vocation to become members of Europe, beginning with Turkey which has no place inside the European Union," he said, according to press reports.

"Enlarging Europe with no limit risks destroying European political union, and that I do not accept," he said.

Mr Sarkozy is set to face about a dozen other candidates in the first round of France's two-stage presidential vote on April 22 with his most important opponent - the socialist candidate Segolene Royal, 53, currently leading the polls.

It is expected that the two will meet in the second runoff on May 6.

However Mr Sarkozy's nomination on Sunday continues to be overshadowed by President Jacques Chirac who has not yet made it clear whether he intends to seek a third term.

Apart from his clear stance on Turkey, "Sarko" has also outlined ideas on how to solve the bloc's current constitutional impasse after French and Dutch voters rejected the treaty in referendums in 2005.

He is in favour of a "mini treaty" with elements of the current text of the EU constitution, but also believes the charter will "not enter into force in its current form."

Nine Catalan separatist leaders given long jail terms

Spain's Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition and misuse of public funds over their role in Catalonia's 2017 bid for independence. The possible legal immunity of some MEPs remains unanswered.

Hungarian opposition wins Budapest in blow to Orban

Budapest joins Istanbul and Warsaw by having an opposition mayor to a strongman illiberal leader, after a united opposition serves a shock blow across several towns in local elections in Hungary.

Commission takes Poland to court on eve of election

As Poland's combative Law and Justice party faces elections this Sunday, the commission once again sends a case on its domestic judiciary reforms to the European Court of Justice for breaking EU rules.

EU to better protect journalists, Jourova promises

The current Czech commissioner for justice, Vera Jourova, was approved for the next commission, as she promised to defend democracy from online threats, and to present ideas about reforming future European elections by 2020.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us