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Sarkozy, Merkel off to a fine start

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Sarkozy, Merkel off to a fine start

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Nicolas Sarkozy has made his first state visit, to Germany. Only hours after taking office in Paris, military honours were being laid on for the French president at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. A working dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel was to follow. She is currently heading the EU presidency.

Sarkozy has promised to help pull the European Union out of the institutional slump it’s in. This trip is aimed at underscoring the importance of Franco-German ties, industrial as well as political. Two thirds of the EU member states have already ratified the full version of the EU constitution. Merkel has said firmly that euroscepticism must not be allowed to undo that. But as Sarkozy gave a brief statement, the atmosphere was clearly upbeat. He said: “Europe expects us to take initiatives. I’ve come as a European, a friend, fully aware there must be results, and that we are out of time. Thank you for inviting me.”

The constitutional project for an enlarged EU came to a halt with the French No, two years ago this month. Sarkozy is in favour of a simplified treaty. Merkel has promised to present Europe with a roadmap for future moves on the charter at a summit next month.