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Irish EU commissioner criticises Sarkozy: report

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(DUBLIN) - Ireland's outgoing EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy launched what the Irish Times Saturday described as a "caustic attack" on President Nicolas Sarkozy and the extent of French power in the EU.

The newspaper said McCreevy, who will shortly step down as internal markets commissioner to be replaced by France's Michel Barnier, described the French as "masters in getting their key people into some of the most powerful posts".

Sarkozy's recent "coming out" on EU matters had been instructive, the Times said McCreevy told the Irish Association of European Journalists on Friday.

McCreevy, a former Irish finance minister, pointed to Sarkozy's comment that the appointment of Barnier to succeed him had been "a defeat for Anglo-Saxon capitalism.

"President Sarkozy has laid to rest once and for all the myth that EU commissioners, certainly French ones, when they go to Brussels, are expected to leave aside their home member state national interests and political priorities and act exclusively in the community interest.

"What President Sarkozy's statement tells us is that like many of his fellow countrymen, he does not see the European Commission as a commission for the advancement of European interests.

"He sees it as a commission for the advancement of French interests."

McCreevy said Sarkozy expects the French commissioner and his staff in Brussels to behave as though they were an annexe to the Elysee Palace.

"But I think Mr Barnier is strong enough to resist such pressures," added McCreevy.

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