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French press cordial on Sarkozy

European Press Graphic

French newspapers give a mixed reaction to President Nicolas Sarkozy's speech to both houses of the British parliament.

Several praise him for steering French diplomacy away from Germany but others say he did not present anything new in his call for closer ties between Paris and London.

BERNARD REVEL IN L'INDEPENDANT DU MIDI

He didn't trip on the red carpet. Honour was maintained. Nor were miracles expected from his sensible speech to parliament... A self-proclaimed herald of breaks with the past, Nicolas Sarkozy offered scarcely anything new in his call for a "new brotherhood" between the two countries.

CHANTAL DIDIER IN L'EST REPUBLICAIN

After an entente cordiale that's 104 years old, Nicolas Sarkozy is suggesting going further. Going as far as 'a new Franco-British brotherhood', that will consign to oblivion the tensions that appeared during the war in Iraq and Paris's irritation with British attempts to take from Europe only what suits it.

OLIVIER PICARD IN LES DERNIERES NOUVELLES D'ALSACE

The advantage of this kind of visit is that there is almost no political or diplomatic risk unless one really works at it... the Westminster speech took pains to be totally inoffensive.

PIERRE ROUSSELIN IN LE FIGARO

In Westminster, a temple of Euro-scepticism if there is one, Nicolas Sarkozy pulled off the feat of winning applause for the European idea when he asserted the continent's need of the United Kingdom... This is a break with decades of French diplomacy. It is also a deep and sincere conviction that British dynamism will contribute to modernising Europe.

JOSEPH LIMAGNE IN OUEST-FRANCE

It was no small feat for Nicolas Sarkozy to win applause in London when talking about Britain's greater involvement in the European Union. He did it his way, with veiled criticism of the Europe of the 27 that needs "changing" with Britain's help... the Europe he depicted for them will be rich in national identities, strong in its differences and a steadfast friend to America.

BERNARD GUETTA ON FRANCE INTER RADIO

Yesterday, Nicolas Sarkozy reoriented French diplomacy westwards. By carrying out such a spectacular rapprochement with a free-market Britain, by making it an example to be followed, he has de facto moved away from a Germany which continues to embody the other model: a social market economy.

MICHEL LEPINAY IN PARIS NORMANDIE

In fact, the only error of taste might have been the reference to Germany from the floor in Westminster... The reference to Germany was only there to add a little more value to the new cross-Channel friendship. For Nicolas Sarkozy, the France-Germany axis isn't sufficient to drive Europe.

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