Great job on the EU treaty, Brown is told by Sarkozy

GORDON Brown faced embarrassment yesterday as Nicolas Sarkozy lavished praise on him for ramming through the new EU Treaty without giving British people a say.
As the French president said his new love affair with Britain was 'not just a one-night stand' but would 'go into next-day breakfast as well', he insisted the UK must integrate still further with the EU.

Mr Brown announced a series of measures designed to deepen and strengthen Britain's ties with France, saying he wanted the 'entente cordiale' to become an 'entente formidable'.

Mr Sarkozy went out of his way to praise Mr Brown's 'courage and loyalty' in ensuring that the EU Treaty  -  which will create an EU president, give the EU its own 'legal personality' like a country, strengthen EU courts and end Britain's veto in more than 40 areas  -  passes without a hitch.

Mr Brown has faced fierce criticism from the Conservatives and some of his own MPs for refusing to hold a referendum on the treaty, though Labour promised one on an earlier version.

sarkozy and carla

Thanks for all your help: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla pose outside 10 Downing Street with Gordon Brown

The Prime Minister's stance ensured there would be no repeat of the 'paralysis' which ensued when France voted no to the EU constitution in 2005, Mr Sarkozy said. 'If everyone does not ratify it, there won't be a simplified treaty,' he said. 'Thanks to him [Mr Brown], I hope Europe will be able to start moving ahead.'

Mr Sarkozy called for Britain to play a fuller role in the EU, suggesting he hoped we would join the euro rather than 'being on the sidelines'.

'We need the British to get Europe moving,' he told reporters at a joint press conference. After a one-day summit at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in North London, Mr Brown and Mr Sarkozy said they had agreed to co- operate on defence, the economy, climate change, immigration, nuclear power and a host of other issues. Britain and France are to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism by screening traffic, including that passing through the Channel Tunnel.

Mr Sarkozy praised Mr Brown's record as 'one of the very best' finance ministers in Europe over the past decade and said they would be working 'hand-in-glove' across the range of issues.


Can he kick it? French President Nicolas Sarkozy shows off his football skills, watched by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Gordon Brown

The two leaders announced initiatives to co-operate on reform of international institutions and the global financial system, as well as a joint plan to help to bring education to 16 million children in Africa.

The summit's conclusions detailed planned co-operation on defence projects  -  including 'a joint industrial strategy for complex weapons' and co-operation to 'develop European military capabilities'.

It also said Britain and France would create a 'combined maritime strike capacity', with warships from each country joining forces. And France is to agree to send more troops to Afghanistan at next week's Nato summit in Bucharest.

But while Mr Brown stressed the 'centrality' of Nato, Mr Sarkozy called for a 'Europe of defence'.

He also warned he will be ' sounding out' EU member states over a possible boycott of the Beijing Olympics, despite Britain's determination to see the Games go ahead.

The two leaders agreed to tighten border controls at Calais, including fencing around the port, and to co-operate on a new generation of nuclear power plants by sharing information on safety, security and waste disposal.

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said: 'One of President-Sarkozy's many strengths is how frankly he tells voters what he will do. Before he was elected president he said he would not put the renamed EU Constitution to a referendum.

'But Gordon Brown has no such democratic mandate to sign Britain up to the new EU Treaty. He is doing his best to stop British voters having any say on the treaty at all  -  either in a referendum or at a general election.

'That is a big contrast in leadership and in attention to democracy.'


Gordon Brown listens to Nicolas Sarkozy at a press conference at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium

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