On the first stop of his two-day trip to the U.S., French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke at Columbia University’s Low Library to a packed audience of students and faculty. The Columbia World Leaders Forum event was co-sponsored by the University’s Maison Française and The Columbia-Paris Alliance Program.
University President Lee C. Bollinger welcomed Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the First Lady of France. “President Sarkozy’s visit to Columbia allows us to celebrate two important relationships—that of Columbia with France and the French language and culture, and that of the U.S. with France,” said Bollinger. Just before Bollinger brought President Sarkozy to the stage, he added, “When you dine tomorrow evening alone with President Obama, extend to him our very best regards from his alma mater.”
Setting aside his prepared remarks, President Sarkozy stressed the need for Europe and the United States to work in concert on multiple fronts: regulating the world economy, fighting the war on terrorism, redesigning the framework of the United Nations Security Council and creating a more cooperative approach to world governance.
“We are in the 21st century. There is not a single country that can direct the world on its own,” said Sarkozy. “If together [Europe and the U.S.] do not come up with fresh ideas then no one else will do it instead of us. That’s the reason why I came to the United States.”
The need for more effective economic regulation was a core theme in Sarkozy’s remarks and responses to student questions. “Europe and the United States together can redesign the rules to stabilize the world economy,” he said. “If Europe is backed by the U.S., then we will win.” When he meets with President Obama on Tuesday, he said he plans to discuss ways to prevent another financial crisis.
(Source: Columbia University News)