French President Nicolas Sarkozy brushed off suggestions on Thursday that the decision by his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama not to attend a summit with European Union leaders represented a snub to the 27-member bloc.
Obama's decision to skip the summit slated for May has been widely interpreted as a diplomatic rebuff to Europe, reflecting U.S. frustration with unwieldy EU institutions.
EU diplomats have said that the planned meeting in Spain was likely to be scrapped if Obama stayed away, but Sarkozy dismissed talk of a diplomatic rift and indicated the gathering would be held at a later date.
"I don't even understand the controversy," he told a news conference in Paris following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"What does it matter if the European-U.S. summit takes place in November rather than May? Where is the drama? Is that really a problem in the world these days?," he said.
"You want to know what I think? There are too many summits. There is too much moving around. There is too much time wasted."
Failure to hold the summit in May is likely to be interpreted as a setback to European Union efforts to play a greater role on the world stage following the appointment of a permanent EU council head and foreign policy chief.
The two new positions come into force at the start of the year under the terms of a recent EU treaty. However, some officials have complained that the changes have only complicated lines of command in the clunky EU machinery.
ReutersLast Mod: 04 Şubat 2010, 20:01