Sarkozy sees France leading 'Old World Renaissance' in 2008
President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to push ahead with reforms in 2008PARIS, January, 2007 - President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to
push ahead with reforms in 2008 and make France the soul and leader of a
"Renaissance in the Old World."
In a New Year's message delivered live from the Elysee presidential palace,
Sarkozy said the task of reforming the country was "huge, given that France is
lagging so far behind the rest of the world."
"But believe me, my resolve is unfailing," said Sarkozy, dressed in a dark
suit and tie, and seated next to a French flag.
"Despite the obstacles, despite the difficulties, I will do what I promised
to do," he vowed.
With France set to take the helm of the European Union in the second half
of 2008, Sarkozy said the country was ready to take on a role as a leading
player in the world.
"Let France lead the way! This is what the people of the entire world
expect from her," he said.
"Our Old World needs a new Renaissance. Well then, let France be the soul
of this Renaissance! This is my warmest wish for the year to come."
During his first eight months in office, Sarkozy has clashed with unions
over pension reform, moved toward closer relations with the United States and
weathered upheaval in his personal life when his second wife Cecilia divorced
His new relationship with Italian ex-supermodel turned singer Carla Bruni
has grabbed headlines, most recently after the couple was photographed during
their vacation in Egypt.
Looking back on his first months in office, Sarkozy said he had tackled the
most "urgent" tasks such as tax reform and bringing France back into the
European fold with a proposed new EU treaty.
"With the start of 2008, a new phase is beginning," said the president,
adding that the next measures would underpin what he called a "policy of
civilization" that deals more broadly with societal issues.
The president said that despite a gloomy economic outlook due to the
financial crisis, "the first results of the measures undertaken should begin
to take hold."
Sarkozy, 52, delivered his New Year's message live, with aides saying this
would allow for a more personal touch than his predecessors' pre-recorded
In another first, the New Year's address was aired with simultaneous sign
language for the deaf.