Nicolas Sarkozy thinks his Toronto hotel room is quite nice and he doesn't see any overt signs of opulence at the G8/G20 summit, but the charismatic French President vowed his country will pull off its hosting duties next year for one-tenth the price.
After more than a half-hour of answering reporters' questions on deficits, the United Nations Security Council and sanctions for Iran, Mr. Sarkozy asked if there was one last question.
A reporter who scrambled to the microphone asked whether French citizens should brace themselves for a similar summit tab as Canada, which is expected to pay out more than $1-billion to host the G8 in Muskoka and the G20 in Toronto this weekend.
"Et voilá. Une question bien positive," replied Mr. Sarkozy sarcastically, as if dreading the question. He then went on to make a bold declaration that could come back to haunt him in 2011.
"I thank my Canadian friends for their contribution. I don't know how it was organized," he said in French. "I can tell you we are in a hotel where the comfort is extremely sufficient and extremely reasonable. I haven't seen anything sumptuous."
As for the French G8/G20, even though I can't confirm the Canadian numbers, they will be 10 times less. Exactly. Nicolas Sarkozy
Mr. Sarkozy announced Saturday that the 2011 G8 summit will be held around the same time of the year in Nice, on the French Riviera. France will host the G20 separately at a different location. That may be announced later this weekend at the conclusion of the G20.