Sarkozy-Merkel, Les Meilleurs Ennemis

Europe's No. 1 couple smile for the cameras, but tension mounts
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2007 11:53 AM CDT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, answer reporters' questions during a news conference after talks at the government's guest house, Meseberg Palace in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Berlin yesterday, but Der Spiegel reports that the famed Franco-German alliance at the heart of Europe is under strain. Sarkozy has annoyed Angela Merkel with everything from the EU Reform Treaty to his wife's Libyan exploits. But Merkel is hardly an amie: from energy to finance, the German leader is getting on his nerves.

The German press calls them "chalk and cheese": the hyperactive president and the reserved chancellor are perhaps like oil and l'eau where personality is concerned. But on Monday tensions were evident, not least on the issue of nuclear power, which France strongly advocates and Germany is phasing out. Sarkozy also had an ugly tiff with Merkel's finance minister, who accused him of populist tax breaks.