President Nicolas Sarkozy will present his programme for the French European Union presidency in the European Parliament this Thursday, with criticism already in the air.
That is because Sarkozy has confirmed he will attend next month’s opening of the Olympic Games in China, in spite of the lack of progress in talks on Tibet.
The head of the assembly’s Socialist group, Martin Schulz, said: “I hope Sarkozy won’t steer policy the French UMP way. If he doesn’t, we can work together. If we have a president serving EU interests, okay. But if the EU is placed at the service of Sarkozy, he’ll have a fight on his hands.”
The president of the conservative European People’s Party-European Democrats group in the parliament, Joseph Daul, a member of Sarkozy’s UMP party, stressed how much work should get done during Sarkozy’s European tenure: “The big jobs are energy, climate and terrorism. Look what has happened in Istanbul. We have to move forward on that too. Then there are other dossiers the president has highlighted, and so do I. Namely, these are ensuring security of food supply in the world, which is becoming increasingly important for our fellow citizens. And the defence dossier, not to make war, as some suggest, but to assure the peace.”
The Green Party’s Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Co-president of the European Free Alliance, questioned Sarkozy’s decision to show up in Beijing… He said: “We say everything’s fine that way, endorsing the Chinese regime… ‘Keep beating people up – we support you.’ That’s what Sarko is saying.”
Debate ahead of Sarkozy’s speech indicated he can expect to be quizzed on his Mediterranean Union project as well, which is due for launch this Sunday.