Nicolas Sarkozy has been forced to abandon his proposal for what detractors have called a French-led Club Med—a Mediterranean Union of southern European, Middle Eastern, and North African states—under fierce opposition from Germany. Angela Merkel has been a consistent opponent of the scheme, and she threatened a boycott of a Paris summit, says the Guardian. The incident is only the latest clash between Sarkozy and Merkel, signaling a low point in French-German relations.
Sarkozy's plan for a "political, economic and cultural union" was designed to solidify France's position in the region and strengthen the country's leadership credentials—as well as keep Turkey from joining the EU. But Merkel insisted that "Club Med" would split the EU. After 10 days of negotiations, the two compromised on a face-saving proposal that bears little resemblance to Sarkozy's original plan.