Head of StateFrance’s Nicolas Sarkozy became president on 16 May 2007, taking over from Jacques Chirac, who had held the position since 1995. Sarkozy worked as a lawyer while he pursued politics. From 1983 to 2002, he was mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine. He has been president of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) since 2004. During his time in parliament he held a number of cabinet portfolios including minister of state of economy, finance and industry, minister of the budget and minister of the interior.
He was born in Paris on 28 January 1955. In 1978, he received his degree in law from the University of Paris. He is married to Carla Bruni.
In an editorial, Le Figaro says that following the G20 finance ministers' meeting, all positions 'seem to be clear now'. Although it is too soon to guess what will come out of the G20, Gaétan de Capèle argues the main issue is differences of opinion between US calls to strengthen recovery plans and a what he sees as apparent European preference for more regulation. Capèle considers the final statement that came out of Saturday's meeting to be light on substance so as to make everybody happy for the moment. His recommendation is for Europe to remain strong on her position.
In another article in Le Figaro, reporting on the G20 meeting, Christine Lagarde is reported to be satisfied that all finance ministers 'agreed on the full package for the G20'. However, the article also concedes that the agreement is light on substance, and countries will have to wait for more specific announcements to be made at the London Summit.
Les Echos says finance ministers meeting went beyond their differences and showed unity in front of the recession. It says the proposed reforms took precedence over the recovery plans at the Finance ministers meeting.
La Tribune underlines the excellent cooperation yesterday between Merkell and Sarkozy in the scope of the G20. In an Op-Ed piece, the President and CEO of Allo-finance.com argues that 2 different agendas are being set up: one by the Americans and one by the Europeans.
Les Echos explains that despite common views on financial regulation reform, the Americans find the other G20 members are being very weak on their plans to relaunch their economies. Eric Le Boucher is unoptimistic about the London Summit he feels that countries differences cannot be reconciled and that 'only good words can come out of the G20 meeting in London'. He goes on to argue that the only solution is a stronger recovery plan for the economy in Europe and a better recovery plan for financial institutions in America, and we are nowhere near this.
With only a few weeks to go before the London Summit, Dominique Seux in Les Echos says US President Barack Obama has made clear his priority of boosting the economy to get out of the current crisis. She goes on to say that the Europeans do not want President Obama to 'dictate their agenda' and ;refuse to go further' as long as Washington does not clarify its position on reforming the financial system. A failure at the G20 is possible, she adds.
Le Figaro says disagreements have emerged between the US and Europe on the rescue strategy for the global economy. Paris and Berlin want more regulation of the markets, while Washington is advocating a bigger rescue plan. It says: 'Caught between two fires, the British are leaning more towards the US'.
Nicolas Véron in La Tribune the London Summit cannot be expected to coordinate budget policies among such a vast and varying group. But it could make decisions on reforming the IMF, accelerating the transformation of other institutions and progressing on the question of tax havens. Such a programme will settle the markets only if the G20 works modestly and focuses on the areas where it can give added value. If it succeeds, it could position itself as a long-lasting organisation and increase the importance of its role.
The Elysée has said that Nicolas Sarkozy and the Mexican President plan to make a joint statement on the financial crisis before the G20, with the idea of defending the creation of a G13 and appealing for a restructuring of the global financial system, according to Les Echos.
Commenting on Gordon Brown’s speech to the US Congress, Le Figaro says that if the G20 is going to get any results, there is still some way to go. The US was still hesitating, while Europe was divided with Paris and Berlin convinced of the need to rethink the founding principles of capitalism.
In an interview in La Tribune, Jacques De Larosière, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said he hoped Europe would speak with one voice at the London Summit. On crisis and rescue measures, he warned that those who did not apply the rules should face 'sanctions'.
French international news channel France 24 TV provided extensive coverage of Gordon Brown's visit to the United States on 3 and 4 March, which it described as important ahead of a 'crucial' G20 summit in London on the global economic crisis. According to Washington correspondent Guillaume Meyer, 'Barack Obama and Gordon Brown are on the same wavelength regarding the role of governments in facing up to the economic crisis,' since both believe in the injection of state funds into the economy and both want greater regulation of financial markets.
Le Figaro reports that the weekend's summit in Berlin saw a 'European consensus' on the tax havens and agreed to seven priorities for the agenda of the G20 summit in April.
Les Echos points out that though the European leaders came to an agreement on G20 priorities yesterday, they failed to tackle the problem of Eastern Europe and how these countries are affecting the stability of the Euro Zone.
La Tribune says that the leaders were all unanimously against protectionism, vowing to keep competition open, thereby sending a clear signal to the US to do the same.
Les Echos and Le Monde analysed Sunday’s Berlin summit of the European countries attending the London Summit and said France shared Germany’s agenda on the transparency of financial markets, better surveillance of hedge funds and strengthening controls over financial organisations.
In an interview with Les Echos, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, said the G20 had the potential to be an organ of world governance, but only if it was prepared to open up to the Middle Eastern and African countries. He expected the London Summit to make decisions on a range of issues, from taxation to solutions to the crisis, and to agree changes to the tools and operations of financial world governance.
Le Figaro says President Nicolas Sarkozy is actively preparing for the G20 at which he is expects 'structural decisions', and wants Europe to go to the London Summit with a common position. The President wants regulation to cover all financial institutions, including hedge funds, and for discussions on tax havens to improve the transparency on the origin of funds, it added.
Recent news and events
Foreign Office Minister, Bill Rammell, delivered a speech on the global efforts to tackle climate change during his visit to Japan on 17 March 2009.
Bill Rammell visits Japan and South Korea
Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell is visiting Japan and South Korea on 16-20 March for discussions on the London Summit and other issues.
Engaging Africa on the London Summit
Prime Minister Gordon Brown hosted a meeting with influential African leaders, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on Monday 16 March, in preparation for the G20 London Summit.
In an exclusive webcast for London Summit YouTube channel, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says we need to address the weaknesses in the financial system that have 'allowed the sores that gave rise to the crisis to fester.'
Watch more videos on our London Summit YouTube channel.
The really new Bretton Woods
An attempt to give practical content to the idea of international economic arrangements by Brazil’s Minister for Strategic Affairs Roberto Mangabeira Unger.