herald

Tuesday 22 January 2019

If a picture says a thousand words ... what does Sarkozy think of Enda?

SARKO is laughing but the Irish people are not.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's very public attempt to get a quiet word in the ear of the French President appears to have ended badly.

It wasn't quite a snub but Nicolas Sarkozy walked away laughing, leaving Enda looking bemused.

Mr Kenny made a clear effort to be seen with the French President who merely continued on his way, brushing past the Fine Gael leader.

The Taoiseach has been criticised in recent days for not holding a private meeting with Mr Sarkozy in an effort to end the impasse on Ireland's bailout rate.

At a European meeting last night, Mr Kenny had been speaking with Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme when Mr Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel passed by.

Mr Leterme and Mr Sarkozy greeted each other warmly but the Taoiseach barely had a chance to open his mouth before the French President left.

However, sources say that Mr Kenny did manage to secure a private discussion with Mr Sarkozy later on.

SOFTENING

He raised the issue of a possible reduction in the cost of the Irish EU/IMF bailout -- a move the French leader has opposed in the absence of any Irish concession on corporate tax rate.

There appears to have been no softening of Mr Sarkozy's position, though both leaders agreed to continue a process of talks.

Meanwhile, EU leaders issued a communiqué welcoming Ireland's progress in its reform programme.

comurphy@herald.ie

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