Sarkozy and Merkel Face Off

Two ambitious heads of state struggle for European dominance
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2007 6:02 PM CDT
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel during arrivals at an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday June 21, 2007. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday will urge...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – French president Nicolas Sarkozy is stepping up to challenge German chancellor Angela Merkel for the leadership of Europe, Der Spiegel reports, and the result  will be first-rate political spectacle. The two alpha heads of state, who met today in Toulouse, have very different styles: Merkel is restrained and accute; Sarkozy pugnacious and hyperactive.

While he relishes high-stakes duels, she wins by attrition, with the occasional withering sarcasm. Issues range from economics to foreign policy;  Germany (among other nations) is fuming over a surprise initiative from the French foreign minister calling for concessions from Israel in the Mideast peace process. (Read more Nicolas Sarkozy stories.)