Foreign Priority Will Be to Improve Relations with US ; SARKOZY WINS
Penketh, Anne, The Independent (London, England)
He has been called an "American neo-conservative with a French passport". That particular barb against Nicolas Sarkozy came from Eric Besson, the senior economic adviser to the Socialist candidate, Segolene Royal, who defected to her rival during the election campaign.
But M. Sarkozy has never minded being called "Sarkozy the American", - an insult in France - as he admitted to an audience of American-Jewish leaders in New York in 2004. In September last year, he drew howls of protest after a meeting with President George Bush in which he broke the taboo on criticis-ing his government's policy.
M. Sarkozy, who was Interior Minister at the time, distanced himself from President Jacques Chirac's anti-war stance in the run- up to the Iraq invasion.
M. Sarkozy last night told France's "American friends" that they could "count on our friendship", and President Bush was among the first to telephone his congratulations last night. But in his victory speech, M. Sarkozy called on America to "take the lead" in the battle to curb global warming.
M. Sarkozy is a known quantity in London, and has met Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. "He's been a presidential candidate for as long as one can remember," said a Foreign Office official. "I feel we have a better idea of what he would say" compared with Mme Royal.
The first skirmish is likely to be on Europe, with M. Sarkozy agreeing with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, that quick agreement is needed on a slimmed-down treaty replacing the stalled EU constitution rejected by French voters in 2005. He says that he would not put the mini-treaty to a referendum, but would submit the text to the French parliament for ratification. …