French President Nicolas Sarkozy is a man most people love to hate.
The temperamental, emotional, and expressive French President has never been one to mince words, whether he’s talking about a French farmer or European heads of state. If Sarkozy doesn’t like you, he’ll let you know.
Which is what makes him such great fodder for the media. His ‘quotable quotes’ could fill a book. Which is why we’ve brought you 14 of his most memorable. It’s Sarkozy at his best (or worst).
There is clearly no love lost between journalists and the French President. Alluding to a former defence minister's claim that he had 'absolute conviction' Sarkozy had received illegal kickbacks from an arms deal, he turned to a journalist and launched into a hypothetical argument of how he could accuse the journalist of being a pedophile without any proof in the same way.
After a long rant against various journalists, during which he kept returning to the pedophile analogy, he walked off, declaring: 'Amis pédophiles, à demain.'
Everybody likes to feel popular, even Sarkozy. When a man at a 2008 agricultural exhibition refused to shake the President's hand, saying, 'Oh no, don't touch me, you'll dirty me,' pat came Sarkozy's reply: 'Casse-toi, alors pauvre con.' While the Guardian's translation we've used is widely accepted, The BBC's PG-version is: 'Get lost then you bloody idiot, just get lost!'
It's like we're in high school all over again. Allies on the surface, Sarkozy and Merkel can't stand each other in reality, and we have a pretty good idea why.
At a recent EU summit, President Sarkozy allegedly whispered about Merkel's preference for cheese to other European leaders. Needless to say, the Chancellor was hurt, and thrashed it out with Sarko at their next meeting.
It has become amply clear over the last few months that Sarkozy 'does not approve' of UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The bust-up between Cameron and Sarkozy held up the EU-27 summit for almost two hours, with the French president venting on Cameron, telling him how the rest of the EU was 'sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings.'
In an off-the-record conversation with reporters earler this month, where Sarkozy admitted he could lose the upcoming elections, he also talked about his disinclination (to put it mildly) to run the UMP, his own conservative party. Evidently, even joining a religious order was more appealing.
Sarkozy does not even spare those who could potentially help him get re-elected. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially announced her decision to join her French counterpart on the campaign trail on Monday, it caught Paris on the back foot, as Sarkozy has yet to officially declare his candidacy for the election.
And instead of a sober comment recognising the gravity of the situation, Sarkozy responded in true Sarkozy-style.
On a visit to Washington in 2007, Sarkozy suggested that Condoleezza Rice, erstwhile U.S. secretary of state, as well as her predecessors Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, had recent immigrant roots. (For the record: Rice's parents were Americans, as were their parents and at least one other generation before them.)
When in doubt, put down your neighbours. This comment was made on Monday to a journalist who said prices in Britain had gone up after it increased the VAT, which is what Sarkozy wanted to do in France.
When Sarkozy was accused by a British journalist in November last year of collaborating with Germany to change the governments of Italy and Greece, his hackles were immediately raised. After denying the allegations, Sarko couldn't resist taking a jab at one of his favourite punching bags: Britain.
Revealing either complete ignorance or simply lack of good sense, French presidential candidate Sarkozy told Philosophie Magazine in an interview in 2007 that pedophilia's causes were purely genetic, not 'because their parents didn't take care of them properly!'
Ségolène Royal, then the Socialist candidate, described his comments as 'terribly worrying' and 'chilling'. Sarkozy said later he was not emphasising genetic factors above social conditions.
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