Sarkozy vows to end EU crisis


Summary

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel he wants to lift the European Union out of its institutional paralysis.

Just hours after he took over from Jacques Chirac, Mr Sarkozy made a symbolic visit to Berlin to show the importance he attaches to the French-German relationship, which is often described as the driving force of the EU.

Video: Sarkozy takes control

Sarkozy: Europe must be shaken from his paralysis

Mr Sarkozy told Ms Merkel over dinner that he wanted to help her to relaunch the troubled EU constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters two years ago, his spokesman said.

At a press conference with Merkel, Mr Sarkozy said: "I want to say to the German people that the friendship between France and Germany is sacred and that nothing can call it into doubt.

"Europe must be shaken from its paralysis as a matter of urgency," he said in a reference to the stalled constitution.

"It will not be French policy to wait, not on domestic, European or foreign issues. I say, why wait for things to become more complicated. Waiting will not help us come up with a better solution."

France and Germany pledge to work together

He added: "If Germany and France work together, we will of course have a greater influence on European and world affairs than if we act separately."

Ms Merkel, who like Mr Sarkozy is a conservative, welcomed the new French president with full military honours.

Ms Merkel thanked Sarkozy for coming to Berlin on the very day he was sworn in as president and said it was a sign of the "great friendship" between the two countries.

But she added: "We will get straight down to work this evening because we have very important tasks."

Germany to lead the EU out of a crisis

Germany, as the current president of the EU, is seeking to lead the
27-nation bloc out of the crisis into which it was thrown in 2005 when the constitution was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands.

Ms Merkel wants to reach a political deal on a new constitutional treaty at an EU summit in Brussels on June 21-22.

"I am counting on getting a very strong agreement," she told Mr Sarkozy, adding that Germany was sticking to its aim of seeing the new treaty ratified before elections to the European Parliament in 2009.

Mr Sarkozy spoke to the chancellor of his proposal to retain the bare essentials of the original text to create a mini-treaty that will make the bloc function more smoothly, his spokesman David Martinon said.

Ms Merkel however is seeking to retain the bulk of the constitution.

Officials from all the member states held talks about the treaty behind closed doors in Berlin on Tuesday.

Many obstacles remain to an agreement, with Britain in particular reported to be keen to secure exemption from some of the more sensitive areas of the constitution.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel he wants to lift the European Union out of its institutional paralysis.

Just hours after he took over from Jacques Chirac, Mr Sarkozy made a symbolic visit to Berlin to show the importance he attaches to the French-German relationship, which is often described as the driving force of the EU.

Video: Sarkozy takes control

Sarkozy: Europe must be shaken from his paralysis

Mr Sarkozy told Ms Merkel over dinner that he wanted to help her to relaunch the troubled EU constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters two years ago, his spokesman said.

At a press conference with Merkel, Mr Sarkozy said: "I want to say to the German people that the friendship between France and Germany is sacred and that nothing can call it into doubt.

"Europe must be shaken from its paralysis as a matter of urgency," he said in a reference to the stalled constitution.

"It will not be French policy to wait, not on domestic, European or foreign issues. I say, why wait for things to become more complicated. Waiting will not help us come up with a better solution."

France and Germany pledge to work together

He added: "If Germany and France work together, we will of course have a greater influence on European and world affairs than if we act separately."

Ms Merkel, who like Mr Sarkozy is a conservative, welcomed the new French president with full military honours.

Ms Merkel thanked Sarkozy for coming to Berlin on the very day he was sworn in as president and said it was a sign of the "great friendship" between the two countries.

But she added: "We will get straight down to work this evening because we have very important tasks."

Germany to lead the EU out of a crisis

Germany, as the current president of the EU, is seeking to lead the
27-nation bloc out of the crisis into which it was thrown in 2005 when the constitution was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands.

Ms Merkel wants to reach a political deal on a new constitutional treaty at an EU summit in Brussels on June 21-22.

"I am counting on getting a very strong agreement," she told Mr Sarkozy, adding that Germany was sticking to its aim of seeing the new treaty ratified before elections to the European Parliament in 2009.

Mr Sarkozy spoke to the chancellor of his proposal to retain the bare essentials of the original text to create a mini-treaty that will make the bloc function more smoothly, his spokesman David Martinon said.

Ms Merkel however is seeking to retain the bulk of the constitution.

Officials from all the member states held talks about the treaty behind closed doors in Berlin on Tuesday.

Many obstacles remain to an agreement, with Britain in particular reported to be keen to secure exemption from some of the more sensitive areas of the constitution.