France Takes EU Reins With Call for Change

Sarkozy concerned by Ireland's rejection of central treaty
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 1, 2008 6:54 AM CDT
The Eiffel Tower is lit up in the colors of the European flag to mark France's EU presidency in Paris, Monday, June 30, 2008.    (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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(Newser) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy said yesterday that “profound” changes are needed in Europe's strategy for growth as his nation takes over the helm of the EU, reports AFP. “There have been errors in the way that Europe has been built,” Sarkozy noted in the wake of Ireland’s vote against a major EU treaty. Many Europeans fear unification will worsen the negative effects of globalization, he says. "Something isn't right."

France’s “first priority is to find a way to contain the problem” of the “no” vote “to the Irish,” Sarkozy said. He will visit Ireland to hear voters’ views. Immigration, defense, energy, and agriculture are France’s top issues over the 6-month EU presidency; the country also plans a Union for the Mediterranean to encourage harmony among Europe, Israel, and Arab countries.