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France/World financial crisis

Sarkozy says world must change, ahead of Bush meeting

Article published on the 2008-10-18 Latest update 2008-10-18 13:56 TU

Sarkozy at the National Assembly in Quebec(Photo: Reuters)

Sarkozy at the National Assembly in Quebec
(Photo: Reuters)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is to meet US President George Bush on Saturday, called for the world to change in response to the international financial crisis which has sent markets tumbling over the last few weeks. In Canada for the international summit of French-speaking nations, he declared that the world is facing "the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s".

"Either we will be able to organise, regulate this new world and give it moral content," Sarkozy told the National Assembly of Canada's Quebec province, "or we will revert to a system, in which each country fends for itself, a world of selfishness, fanaticism and confrontation."

And he declared, "The world must change."

France currently holds the EU's rotating presidency but Bush's spokesperson Dana Perino said that no major decisions will be taken at a meeting with Sarkozy and European Commission chief José Manuel Barroso at the US President's Camp David ranch.

"I don't believe that tomorrow night's meeting will have any new policy announcements or any decision on a date or a location for that meeting -- although everybody is working towards that," she said on Friday.

Sarkozy and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have called for an international summit before the end of the year to co-ordinate a response to the crisis, but Perino said that a date was "the least of our worries".

Sarkozy is trying to affirm his own and Europe’s role in exceptional circumstances, says Paris-based analyst Philip Golub.

“It has become clear in the last couple of weeks and months that the United States is no longer in a position to lead the international system, either on an economic and financial level or on a political level," he told RFI.

Comment: Philip Golub, American Univerity of Paris

18/10/2008 by Judith Prescott

In the US fresh data show housing starts down 31.1 per cent on a year ago, at their lowest level since the 1991 recession, while markets continued their turbulence.

Sarkozy was in Quebec for the summit of French-speaking nations but goes to the US Saturday for the Bush meeting.

Report: French-speaking nations summit, Quebec

18/10/2008 by David Coffey