A mooted visit to London by French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been abandoned amid tensions over the carve-up of top jobs in the European Union.
British and French officials have discussed the possibility of a bilateral between Mr Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Number 10 tomorrow.
Both sides admitted today that the idea had been considered but would not now go ahead. Instead they will meet at the European Council in Brussels next week.
The aborted plans emerged amid concern in the City of London that a Frenchman, Michel Barnier, will be in charge of EU financial regulatory reform.
Mr Sarkozy provoked anger earlier this week by describing the British as “the big losers” in the recent European Commission appointments process.
In an interview with Le Monde newspaper, Mr Sarkozy made clear his delight at helping Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy get the post of EU president.
That was a blow to Mr Brown, who had tried to secure the job for Tony Blair, his predecessor.
And Mr Sarkozy boasted that the French were now in charge of a key financial post in the EU for the first time in 50 years, adding: “The English are the big losers in this business.”