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Ex-Swiss president slams 'disrespectful' Sarkozy

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Ogi (left) nonplussed by Sarkozy's comments. Photos: AFP/World Economic Forum
10:49 CEST+02:00
Former Swiss president Adolf Ogi has accused former French president Nicolas Sarkozy of lack of respect for Switzerland over remarks Sarkozy made in the margins of the Swiss Economic Forum held in Interlaken last Friday, according to media reports.

Sarkozy told a group of 20 sponsors of the forum that the Swiss should join the European Union, according to a report from the SonntagsBlick newspaper.

He then went on to criticize Switzerland’s form of government, saying that it could not be governed properly by a president that changes every year, the newspaper said.

Sarkozy added that the Swiss government, made up of seven cabinet ministers including the president, was inefficient and old-fashioned, Sonntagblick said.

“He went too far,” Ogi told Le Matin in an interview published on Monday in which he explained that he interrupted Sarkozy’s remarks.

“It was necessary to say stop,” said the former Swiss cabinet minister, who served as Swiss president in 1993 and 200.

“I interrupted him.”

Ogi said Sarkozy showed a lack of respect for the country that was hosting him.

“If a person shows himself to be disrespectful towards our country, I cannot let it pass,” he told Le Matin.

“That was the case when I was in the federal government — it’s still the case today.”

Ogi reportedly reminded Sarkozy of Switzerland’s wealth, the richness of its four cultures, its 26 cantons and its 160 years of peace.

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He also noted that Switzerland remained an example that the European Union was trying in vain to recreate.

Sarkozy further surprised organizers of the Swiss Economic Forum by requesting, through his secretary, that there be no photos during his visit and no questions about French domestic politics.

The Swiss Economic Forum, an annual two-day event, attracted more than 1,200 delegates to listen to high-profile business leaders, politicians and personalities.

The lineup of speakerrs included Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, chairman of Louis-Dryfus Holding, Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB Group and Peter Spuhler, owner and CEO of the Stadler Rail group.
 

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