French President Nicolas Sarkozy criticized a suggestion by Francois Hollande, his Socialist rival in the presidential campaign, for proposing revisions to the 1963 treaty that sealed Franco-German cooperation.
“When we sign a treaty, we sign in the name of the French people, not the people of the right or the people of the left. It’s an expression of a country, not of politics,” Sarkozy said. “It’s France’s word. It’s the basis of international relations and democracy,” he said in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris.
Hollande, who has also said he’d renegotiate an accord tightening budget rules endorsed by 25 European Union leaders, said that if elected, he would seek to push for an updated version of the Elysee Treaty to establish more “equal” relations between Europe’s two biggest economies.
The treaty was signed in 1963 at the French president’s palace by General Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer. It laid down the basis of cooperation between the two countries in economics, politics, foreign affairs, education and defense.
Hollande said in his first campaign speech on Jan. 22 that he would seek to have a new version signed in January 2013 for the 50th anniversary of the Treaty.
“The treaty is not the property of the president,” Merkel said today at the press conference that concluded a Franco- German cabinet meeting. She said both countries’ parliaments were preparing a celebration for January. “The treaty is a historical document that was ratified by parliament.”
Hollande made an official request to meet with Merkel during the campaign time, a German government spokesman said today. The government hasn’t taken a decision yet he said, asking not to be named according to government ground rules. France’s first round election will be held April 22 and the run- off on May 6.
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