After officially taking over from Jacques Chirac as France’s President yesterday – Nicolas Sarkozy is beginning his first full day in the job. However, he has already got down to work. No sooner had the pomp and circumstance of his swearing-in been concluded than he had hopped on a plane to Berlin for talks with German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
At a joint press conference last night, he declared there was an urgent need to “get the European Union out of its current paralysis”.
Back home, the French are waiting to find out who will be in their new government. It is widely expected that Sarkozy will name moderate conservative Francois Fillon as his Prime Minister today – heading up a streamlined cabinet.
The full make-up of that won’t be known until tomorrow. Many names have already been touted including some old conservative favourites, like former prime minister, Alain Juppé. However, confounding those who warned Sarkozy would prove a divisive force, the new president has also reached out to the left.
Bernard Kouchner – from the same Socialist party as Segolène Royal, the woman Sarkozy defeated in the presidential election – is expected to be named as his foreign minister.