France takes on the rotating presidency of the EU at midnight, with the Union in a fragile state following the Irish rejection of the Lisbon treaty.
President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke on national television of the current quandery in which the EU finds itself.
“It’s not going well at all. Europe is worrying people and even worse, I find that little by little our citizens are wondering if they’re not better protected on a national scale rather than a European scale…which is not the truth.
“I think things are moving backwards in the way we are building Europe. We have to radically change the way in which we are building Europe.”
Sarkozy faces a tough task if he is to hand the EU to the Czech Republic in January in a better condition than that in which he found it.
With a poor opinion rating at home, he could have wished for better timing.