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Cameron to hold talks with Sarkozy
3:53am Thursday 20th May 2010
David Cameron is to make his first foray on to the world stage as Prime Minister, visiting Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.
Mr Cameron is to hold talks with the French president before heading for Berlin where he will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday.
The encounters will be keenly scrutinised for indications of how the new British leader intends to handle relations with his EU counterparts.
President Sarkozy publicly expressed disappointment at Mr Cameron's decision to withdraw his MEPs from the centre-right EPP grouping in the European Parliament.
However, the PM's aides always dismissed rumours of personal and policy tensions between the two men, and the president made a point of meeting the then Tory leader during his most recent trip to the UK in March.
By comparison, Mrs Merkel was widely thought to have snubbed Mr Cameron by not seeing him when she visited the country in April.
One largely unknown quantity is the effect of the Liberal Democrats on the PM's approach.
The coalition partners agreed there will be no further transfer of sovereignty to Brussels during this parliament, but it is not clear whether the Tories scrapped plans to try to reclaim powers.
One significant concession Mr Cameron did make was moving Mark Francois, a redoubtable Eurosceptic, from the post of shadow europe minister to the Whips office. He was replaced by the more moderate David Lidington.
The presence of the Lib Dems in government could ease the new premier's path by reassuring continental leaders that the UK is not about to rock the boat.