Sarkozy calls for more protectionist Europe

22nd February 2007, Comments 0 comments

STRASBOURG, France, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - France's rightwing presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday called for the European Union to adopt more protectionist policies in order to defend its interests against competition from emerging economies.

STRASBOURG, France, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - France's rightwing presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday called for the European Union to adopt more protectionist policies in order to defend its interests against competition from emerging economies.

In a speech in Strasbourg setting out his European policies two months ahead of the presidential election, Sarkozy said EU citizens had lost their faith in the 27-member bloc and needed to be shown that it still worked on their behalf.

"The priority must now be given to growth, jobs, industrial strategy and -- let us say it quite clearly -- to the protection of our interests. If we don't do it, no-one will do it for us," he said.

Sarkozy said the EU should have an "economic government" with influence over monetary and exchange policy, and that Europe should "have the means to protect itself against the abuses of its competitors and Asiatic dumping".

Vowing to combat the fight of jobs and industries to low-cost economies in Asia, he said that "a Europe without its farmers, its craftsmen, its workers would be a Europe morally, culturally and economically impoverished."

European nations should be allowed to use public tendering to encourage small companies; Europe should "protect its strategic activities against predators", and competition law should not be used to prevent "the emergence of European champions", he said.

Sarkozy said the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should be "rethought" to guarantee self-sufficiency in food "but also sanitary security, respect for the environment and a decent income for farmers."

He called for a "common energy policy so that we can prepare together against the dwindling resources of gas and petrol."

"If I am elected I will suggest to our partners that we agree to tax labour less heavily ... and raise taxes on pollution and consumption. It would be the first step to European tax harmonisation and towards a form of community preference.

"I dare to use the word: being European means preferring Europe," he said.

The candidate repeated his call for a slimmed down EU constitution to replace the text that was rejected in French and Dutch referendums in 2005, and he again ruled out Turkish entry in the bloc.

"Turkey, which is not a European country, has no place inside the EU. A Europe without borders is the death of the great idea of a political Europe. A Europe without borders is the risk of seeing it reduced to a sub-region of the UN. I will not accept it," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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