Europe not 'outmoded', Sarkozy tells Britain

5th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, June 5, 2007 (AFP) - Britain's prime minister designate Gordon Brown should recognise that Europe is not "outmoded" when he takes over from Tony Blair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview published Tuesday.

LONDON, June 5, 2007 (AFP) - Britain's prime minister designate Gordon Brown should recognise that Europe is not "outmoded" when he takes over from Tony Blair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview published Tuesday.

"Gordon Brown has advanced and modernised the British economy over 10 years," Sarkozy told the Financial Times.

"I hope that in moving from number 11 to number 10 Downing Street he understands that Europe is not outmoded," he added, referring to the chancellor of the exchequer and prime minister's official residences.

The FT assessed that Sarkozy's comments reflected the "deep unease" among European leaders about Brown's stance towards Europe.

Brown is seen as more lukewarm on Europe than Blair and blocked the latter's moves to take Britain into the single European currency. The issue is still on the backburner 10 years after Blair came to power.

But Brown -- an instinctive Atlanticist -- has followed Blair's line by saying that under his premiership Britain would be have strong ties with both Europe and the United States.

Sarkozy told the business daily in a dispatch from Paris he was confident that Blair is ready to do a deal on a slimmed down EU constitutional treaty when leaders of the 27-member bloc meet in Brussels later this month.

"Europe has need of the UK and the UK has need of Europe," said the French leader, who has had dealings with Brown as a former finance minister.

"I have spoken to Blair about this (the treaty) and I don't think that one country will carry the risk of blocking Europe."

Brown takes over from Blair as Labour Party leader on June 24 and as prime minister three days later.

Blair, who was one of the first world leaders to visit Sarkozy after his election win last month, meets the French president at the G8 in Germany later this week and at the EU summit.
 

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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