Sarkozy and Brown to urge more market transparency

Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:54am EDT
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By Adrian Croft

LONDON (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown are expected to call for greater transparency in financial markets on Thursday in an effort to tackle the global credit crunch.

Sarkozy, seeking to boost Anglo-French relations after strains over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, is also likely to press for help in trying to persuade Washington to halt a slide in the dollar that is making European exports more expensive.

He went on a charm offensive on the first day of a state visit to Britain on Wednesday, pledging in a speech to the British parliament to send more troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and calling for a "new Franco-British brotherhood."

Britain and the United States have been urging NATO allies to increase troop contributions to the alliance's force in Afghanistan, where the Taliban appear to be growing in strength.

Queen Elizabeth welcomed Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni with a state carriage procession to Windsor Castle, near London, and then hosted a banquet for the couple.

Brown and Sarkozy have struck up a good relationship since both came to power last year, but the popularity of both leaders has dropped since solid starts. Sarkozy's popularity has sunk since he married Bruni, a supermodel-turned-singer, last month.

The two will meet on Thursday at leading English soccer team Arsenal's spectacular new London stadium, chosen as a symbol of cooperation because it has a French coach, Arsene Wenger, and several French players.

British officials said Sarkozy and Brown would discuss the global credit crunch that has hit banks round the world and forced Brown to nationalize mortgage lender Northern Rock.   Continued...

<p>France's President Nicolas Sarkozy walks ahead of Britain's Prince Philip as they review the honor guard at Windsor Castle near London, March 26, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/Pool</p>