Czech PM attempts to button up rift with France

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On Sunday’s EU summit in Brussels, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was sported wearing cuff links from Nicolas Sarkozy.

BRUSSELS – Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek went out of his way to improve tense relations with Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday, sporting cuff links from the French leader in a bid to button up their rift.

Topolanek, whose nation took the EU presidency from France in January, made a point of showing off cuff links he had got from Sarkozy last December when he welcomed the French president at Sunday's EU summit in Brussels.

The gesture forced out a smile from Sarkozy as the two men shook hands, but the good spirits were short-lived and the rather lukewarm encounter left doubts about the relations between the present and previous EU heads.

In February, Sarkozy angered the Czechs by announcing a plan to prop up French car makers in exchange for their promise not to shut French plants or move to cheaper sites "in the Czech Republic or elsewhere."

Topolanek has been trying to arrange for a conciliatory meeting with Sarkozy for weeks, but his hopes were dashed when Sarkozy arrived late for talks with other leaders in Berlin last weekend and then cancelled a meeting scheduled to take place in Brussels on Sunday.

AFP / Expatica

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