With France holding the rotating EU presidency
concerns about Europe’s institutions and economy have dominated the conference of the country’s ruling UMP party. EC Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was present to lend his support to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who spoke about member states relations with Brussels.
“We can’t say that Europe has too much influence and at the same time ask it to do more, every day on every issue. It’s nonsensical and incredible. I say to Europe: there are issues on which you must allow freedom. And I’d like to pay tribute to President Barroso who announced this morning that the Commission considers France’s call for a tax reduction for restaurants perfectly normal”, he said.
With France at the helm Sarkozy’s main EU task is to resolve problems over the Lisbon Treaty on institutional reform, which was rejected by the Irish and is under question in Poland and the Czech Republic.
He told the crowd he had had reassurances from the Polish leader in a phone conversation: “President Kaczynski is a man who I know, who I appreciate. He is an honest man and a statesman. He signed up to the treaty in Brussels and he will ratify it in Warsaw.”
Sarkozy also suggested that the term of the EU presidency should be extended from six months to 18 months and be occupied by three countries acting together.