Sarkozy: We need Britain, but there are now 'two Europes'

Sarkozy: We need Britain, but there are now 'two Europes'

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Sarkozy: We need Britain, but there are now two Europes

France's president Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech on December 12, 2011 in Paris, during the first meeting of self employed professionals at the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) in Paris. AFP photo

French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted on Monday that the European Union was now a two-speed alliance but insisted that Britain would not be forced out of the bloc's single market.

Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel fell out with Prime Minister David Cameron at least week's EU summit, when London refused to sign up to a pact imposing closer economic coordination between member states.

"We did everything, the chancellor and I, to allow the British to take part in the agreement. But there are now clearly two Europes," Sarkozy said in an interview with the French daily Le Monde.

"One wants more solidarity between its members and more regulation. The other is attached only to the logic of the single market," he said.

But, asked whether Britain, which has refused to join the single currency and opposed last week's fiscal pact, could still remain inside the EU single market, Sarkozy said: "We need Great Britain." "We'd be greatly impoverished if we allowed its departure which, luckily, is not on the agenda," he insisted.