Say this about French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he takes risks. 80 days before he stands for re-election he held a cabinet meeting and invited a guest to attend: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is their 14th joint meeting - giving new meaning to the term "special relationship." Merkel said it was "quite noram" for her to be involved in the French presidential election campaign.
The BBC has a full report here.
Sarkozy's close alliance with Merkel has become a serious issue in the election campaign. Marine Le Pen, leader of the ultra-right National Front is running on a platform of taking France out of the euro. She is running a credible third in recent opinion polls. Socialist Francois Hollande is leading Sarkozy and he too is taking a very anti-Europe line as arch euro-skeptic, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, gleefully wrote in today's Daily Telegraph:
“The single currency is condemned to an uncontrollable explosion sooner or later,” wrote 12 economists in a recent letter to Le Monde, calling for an orderly return to national currencies … President Nicolas Sarkozy has no answer to this. He has clung to the fig leaf of Franco-German parity, staking all on ties to Chancellor Angela Merkel, rather than seizing leadership of the Latin bloc to force a radical change of policy."
It is a wonderful world in which an ultraconservative like Pritchard can quote a Socialist like Hollande approvingly: “We cannot let the Germans alone appoint themselves experts and judges."
It is also a wonderful world when a national leader, rather than hiding his true beliefs in the hope of getting votes from some imagined average voter, gets in the face of the electorate and says this is who I am, these are my friends ... and some of them are Germans.