Raffarin briefs Blair on French reshuffle

30th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Nov 30 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin met his British counterpart Tony Blair in London on Tuesday, using the occasion to bring him up to speed on changes to his government in Paris.

LONDON, Nov 30 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin met his British counterpart Tony Blair in London on Tuesday, using the occasion to bring him up to speed on changes to his government in Paris.

"I talked about the reshuffle with Tony Blair," Raffarin told reporters at the doorstep of Downing Street, adding that his new team in Paris "will participate in developing Franco-British relations".

Raffarin described Monday's reshuffle - which saw Herve Gaymard become France's new finance minister, with Dominique Bussereau take over the farm portfolio - as a "rejuvenation" of his administration.

The reshuffle was prompted by the resignation of Nicolas Sarkozy to become leader of the governing UMP party, amid speculation that he aims to succeed President Jacques Chirac in 2007 elections.

Raffarin came to London less than two weeks after Chirac met Blair for a bilateral summit that marked the end of the centenary celebrations of the Entente Cordiale between the two European powers.

With an EU summit in Brussels less than three weeks away, Blair's official spokesman said the two prime ministers discussed a range of European issues, including economic reform and education.

They also looked ahead to Britain's presidency of the European Union in the second half of next year, the spokesman said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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