April 1st, 2009
05:04 AM ET
13 years ago

Sarkozy pushes for summit with concrete results

PARIS, France (CNN) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday he is not satisfied with parts of the draft conclusions for the G-20 summit and may even leave if the results are "less than concrete."

"I will not associate with a summit that is useless," Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio Wednesday morning, a day before he meets other world leaders in London.

If the summit reaches only "false compromises" and nothing concrete, he might leave the summit, Sarkozy said - but he added that it's a step he's reluctant to take, and that he doesn't expect the summit to reach that stage.

"An empty chair would be proof of failure" at the summit, Sarkozy said.

Dozens of world leaders and financial chiefs from the Group of 20 nations are holding a summit Thursday in London. The global monetary crisis is expected to be the central issue.

Sarkozy said "sherpas," or representatives of the various world leaders, have been hammering out the summit's final communique for days. Some ideas are on the table, he said, but there are some items that France and Germany disagree with.

"It doesn't add up," Sarkozy said of the draft communique.

Still, three chapters are certain to be in the final document, Sarkozy said: regulation of the markets, more stimulus packages to put "fuel into the system," and making sure the poorest countries don't have to pay the most to resolve the financial crisis.

Sarkozy spoke at length about tax havens, saying it is a major issue the final communique will have to address. The problem with tax havens is not that they avoid tax, Sarkozy said, but that no one knows the source of the money and to where it goes.

France has already taken some steps to reign in tax havens in Andorra and Monaco and change their tax rules.

The president highlighted the remuneration of traders and hedge fund managers as one problem with the financial system.

"There's no point in continuing with a system that encourages these people to take incredible risk" for financial rewards, he said.

More regulation is also needed to bring "transparency" to credit ratings agencies, he said.

The world financial system has been out of control, he said, and that's why new rules and regulations are needed.

"I know from experience it will be necessary to fight to the end" at the negotiating table," Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy also pushed hard for action at the summit in an op-ed published Thursday in The Washington Post.

"The world expects that we will speed up the reform of the international financial system and rebuild, together, a better-regulated form of capitalism with a greater sense of morality and solidarity," Sarkozy wrote, echoing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's call Tuesday for a return of values and morals in the financial system.

"This crisis is not a crisis of capitalism but the breakdown of a system that drifted away from capitalism's most fundamental values," Sarkozy wrote.

In the radio interview, Sarkozy also talked about U.S. President Barack Obama, calling him "young and dynamic" with a "fantastic new spirit for the entire world."

But he emphasized that France will not always bow to U.S. pressure on points of disagreement.

"I'm a friend of the U.S., but an independent friend," he said.

Sarkozy indicated that France's recent decision to return to NATO's
military command after more than 40 years was meant to boost European defense and show France is standing with the United States.

He said there are "dozens" of countries in Europe that don't bother to
associate with France because it is perceived to be in opposition to the United States. Rejoining the NATO military command, Sarkozy indicated, may help to change that perception.

Filed under: G-20
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Truth Bomb Thrower

    Can we trade Obama for Sarkozy? Unlike Obama, Sarkozy is a man of action and intelligence and his opinion of America is probably higher. 🙂

    April 1, 2009 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    Sarkozy's made me change my whole opinion of the French...this guy's actually got a set.

    That's good, because the world sorely needs a leader and it's sure not Obama.

    April 1, 2009 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  3. joe magaratz

    Sarkozy's absence and an empty chair would be proof of an improvement in the functioning of such summits.

    April 1, 2009 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  4. Sharon Kitchen

    All contrys are indepenant. All countries need "morals". Not all have them. The U.S. is trying to find its again, after the bush/cheney mess.

    April 1, 2009 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  5. independent Jim

    Sarkozy and Merkle – they will get a regulated banking system, but not give into US pressure to spend national resources on a major stimulus. After all, their banks were insured by AIG, so the US is effectively bailing them out already. The Presidebt will not get much except some good photo ops. With the new efforts to set up govt control of the US financial system as a backdrop (at least in the financial/automotive markets), the Presidebt's trip to G20 reminds me of Eva Peron's presidency in Argentina.

    April 1, 2009 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  6. the idiot

    Sounds like we need Hillary to go in and apologize for whatever Europe thinks we did wrong like she did for causing the drug violence in Mexico. That will solve all of those problems.

    April 1, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. Gilbert

    France not at the table?their loss not ours!

    April 1, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. KLM

    Then go ahead and leave. Hopefully these leaders can hammer out something to help the world out.

    April 1, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  9. Ken in NC

    French President, Sarkozy, said "An empty chair would be proof of failure" at the summit. In reality, it would simply mean that while leaders are trying to work out the problems facing the world economy, ONE IDIOT has left and taken his marbles home because he did not get it his way.

    He does not realize that the G-20 Summit is not Burger King and he does not get it his way.

    April 1, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. j

    Meaby they will all start throwing shoes at each other !!!!!!

    April 1, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |