According to French public opinion, President Nicolas Sarkozy will need all the help he can get to re-launch Europe after the Irish referendum rejecting the Lisbon Treaty.
A preparatory visit to the Elysee Palace in Paris by the European Parliament’s President and leaders of the political groups came just after a poll in financial daily Les Echos… It showed that far more readers did not trust Sarkozy to handle their country’s EU presidency well than did trust him.
France’s turns starts on Tuesday and runs till December 31. The main priorities include energy and climate change, an EU Defence Union and a European immigration pact. But a fact-finding mission to Dublin in the first two weeks of Sarkozy’s tenure might reshape the agenda.
The Secretary of State for European Affairs in Paris said the aim was to see whether “there is a need to reopen the treaty”. A few days ago Sarkozy said there was no chance of renegotiating it. Leading Liberal MEP Graham Watson noted that “presidencies are often blown off course by the unforeseen”.