THE ego of some politicians is remarkable. Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City for two terms of office, wants the law changed so that he can stand for election for a third term next autumn. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France and currently President of the European Union's Council of Ministers, is floating the idea that he should become a kind-of EU economic president when his present presidential term is over at the end of December. He argues that the current economic crisis needs continuity and strong handling, especially since neither of the 2009 presidencies, the Czech Republic followed by Sweden, is a member of the 15-member eurozone - nor is Britain, but Mr Sarkozy says that Gordon Brown must nonetheless be a member of the eurogroup summits that would form the core of his proposed economic presidency.
Whether the Czech Republic and Sweden would be everybody's choice to lead the EU through the next difficult year must be an open question. But not every member state would want France to be in the driving seat, given Sarkozy's recent proposals for a less free-market approach. On the other hand, he is unquestionably an energetic and decisive leader which may be what is most needed at a time of crisis. The present situation certainly underlines the need for a semi-permanent president of the Council of Ministers - a Lisbon Treaty proposal currently blocked by Ireland's rejection of the Treaty earlier this year.