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Holidays Ending – Fun Starts?

  • August 30th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

sarkhozy-media-reduced.jpgCOMMENTARY: Winding up of the holiday month and the rentree brings signs of arousal on the political front, with decisions projected on Iran, Turkey and the IMF.

The new President of France Nicolas Sarkozy remains under the microscope, observers looking to see what new directions he might try to set.


This week he opened the door a little to Turkey’s aspiration to join the European Union.

Senior EU officials expressed relief to learn the French President would not oppose continuation of negotiations with the Turkish government, putting up instead a set condition: the talks should have two possible outcomes; that Turkey might join the EU, or that it could be given a new form of very close association.

Mr Sarkozy in his first visit to Brussels as President (24.5.07) reiterated the opposition to Turkey’s entry he had put forward during his election campaign, declaring the country “had no place” in the European entity.

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, that time (picture), intervened to remind news media the EU had made a firm commitment to the negotiations on Turkish entry.


Nicolas Sarkozy was also being quoted this week as lining up with indications by President George Bush of possible military or new economic measures against Iran — though a closer reading puts that into doubt.

The French President did tell the annual meeting of Ambassadors, in Paris (27.8.07) a nuclear armed Iran was “unacceptable”.

However he said also France was maintaining its dialogue with the Iranian leadership, which had proved useful in the past.

Iran is facing the possibility of strengthened United Nations sanctions for non-compliance with requirements of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) designed to guarantee it is not moving towards development of nuclear weapons.

There has been further tension with the United States over Iranian influence in the fighting in Iraq.


Dominique Strauss-Kahn has promised more influence and concern for emergent and poor country interests in his bid for election as director of the International Monetary Fund next month.

The French Economics Professor and former Finance Minister was a leading candidate for pre-selection as the Socialist Party Presidential candidate in the elections last May, defeated for the nomination by Segolene Royal.

He has the support of Nicolas Sarkozy and of European Union governments, the USA, Canada and Japan for the IMF post, which by convention goes to a European candidate.

Russia is supporting an opponent and several leaders of “Third World” countries have said the convention should be broken in favour of one of their own.

The contest is a reminder of arguments that arose after May’s resignation of Paul Wolfowicz as head of the World Bank, with objections to the tradition of appointing an American to that post – as a balancer against the European at the IMF.

The current IMF director Rodrigo Rato, from Spain, is due to finish in the position in early October.


See EUAustralia Online, Wolfowicz (4,19.5.07), Sarkozy at Brussels (24.5.07)

Le Monde (27 and 28.8.07), (28.8.07)

International Monetary Fund, (29.8.07)