Sarkozy Disses Brown, Vows to Avoid British 'Mistakes'

Paris tries to smooth over diplomatic rift after president's interview
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2009 8:56 AM CST
French President Nicholas Sarkozy, left, looks on, as Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, makes his introductory speech at a conference in London, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008.    (AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis, pool)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy used a 90-minute TV interview last night to defend his handling of the global economic downturn—and swore to avoid the "mistakes" of his frequent ally, Gordon Brown. The French president claimed the Brit's decision to cut sales tax had "absolutely not worked." This morning Downing Street said it had a call from Sarkozy's office, assuring the British that his comments were not an attack on British policy.

Sarkozy also used the interview, in the wake of massive protests across France, to indicate that he may not run for a second term as president in 2012. Asked why, he said, "My job is very difficult. It needs a lot of energy, a lot of strength to do it. And I have put all my strength into doing it as well as possible."