The New Year is the time for resolutions, and President Nicolas Sarkozy has them in spades.
Today he outlined his ever-growing list to the World’s press. Many aims were a hangover from the pre-festive season, but now with a time-frame attached. Others were a little more personal.
“Will 2008 spell the end of the 35-hour week?” Sarkozy was asked by one reporter.
“I think so, yes,” he replied.
From the grin on Jean-Louis Borloo’s face it was obviously on his finance minister’s list too.
Last year Sarkozy came in for criticism for having a finger in so many foreign pies: Lebanon, Darfur, Chad, Libya. The president was unrepentant.
“French diplomacy needs to focus on reconciliation. France wants to talk to everybody. Of course we have to support the government of President Bouteflika, because no one wants a Taliban government in Algeria. Of course we have to help President Mubarak in Egypt, a country of 76 million people, because what do we want over there? The Muslim Brotherhood? Of course we have to support Libya on its journey to respectability, and I don’t regret trying to win over Syria.”
Then came the question the roomful of journalists really wanted answered. Is Sarkozy planning to marry Carla Bruni, and when?
“It is serious between us,” he said, “but we won’t let the media fix the date. You’ll probably only find out about it when it’s already happened.”
Sarkozy is certainly enjoying less privacy than his predecessors. His irritation showed during the press conference. But he didn’t attempt to hide from the cameras when he took his Italian model-singer girlfriend, and her young son, to Egypt and Jordan for the holidays.