|Angela Merkel, Sarkozy and José Manuel Barroso|
|Which one of these is Fake?|
Europe's leaders recently looked on in astonishment as the French President shouted at Jose Manuel Barroso, accusing him of insulting the honour of France by pressing ahead with an inquiry into its treatment of the Roma. According to witnesses, Mr Sarkozy flew into a rage during the lunchtime altercation after rejecting a "half-apology" from Mr Barroso over a senior commissioner's attack on the French measures as being reminiscent of ethnic transfers that took place in the Nazi era.
Mr Barroso was said to have become visibly angry at the way in which Mr Sarkozy referred to EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding throughout his diatribe as "that woman". Mr Barroso later accused Mr Sarkozy of using "useless rhetoric" to distract attention from his eviction policy. Mr Sarkozy repeatedly vowed to press on repatriating Roma and dismantling their camps around France.
The row was the culmination of days of increasingly bitter exchanges between Paris and Brussels, as France, a founder member of the EU and self-proclaimed champion of human rights, faces the prospect of legal action to force a change in its law to give better protection to ethnic minorities.
Sarkozy said German Chancellor Angela Merkel had "expressed her total solidarity" and he had similar support from Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and the leaders of Bulgaria and Romania, who have received most returning Roma. However, a German source said later: "That is nonsense. Merkel thought what Reding said was excessive but she never went into the details of the expulsions."