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Sarkozy Backs Berlin

DW staff (jc)January 8, 2008

Nicolas Sarkozy has called for reforms of some of the world's most powerful bodies: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the G8 and the UN. Germany is bound to be happy with at least one of his proposals.

Getting serious -- Sarkozy held his New Year's press conference in ParisImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

Sarkozy on Tuesday, Jan. 8, laid out some pretty big ideas for change at his first major press conference since talking office in May. It was part of what he calls a "policy of civilization." Having made the most headlines recently for his relationship with singer and former model Carla Bruni, Sarkozy was clearly eager to re-establish some political gravitas in his speech in Paris.

Among a number of ambitious changes, he said the French government would be advocating enlarging the G8 club of the world's leading industrialized nations to include China, India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil.

He also said Paris wanted to see the United Nations Security Council expanded to encompass permanent seats for Germany, Japan, India and a large African nation.

"You cannot organize the world of the 21st century with the organization of the 20th," Sarkozy told journalists. "You can't deal with the world's big questions without getting the opinion of at least one nation form Africa, a continent with one billion people."

Sarkozy also called for reforms of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

EU agenda

Carla Bruni und Sarkozy
The Sarkozy-Bruni soap-opera romance has fascinated the FrenchImage: dpa/picture-alliance

Sarkozy also devoted a portion of his address to discussing his plans for the rotating EU Presidency, which France takes over on July 1.

"When our presidency is over, I want Europe to have an immigration policy, an energy policy, an environmental policy and a defense policy," Sarkozy said.

He said the negative side-effects of globalization on the world's climate and the world economy made reforms unavoidable.

"Do we seriously believe that our civilization can survive the mistakes of finance capitalism or global environmental destruction unscathed?" Sarkozy asked. "Finance capital needs to be made morally responsible."

French voters will get their first chance to pass judgement on Sarkozy's "policy of civilization" in two months when they go to the polls for local elections.