WASHINGTON - French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to press US President Barack Obama in a White House meeting on Monday to go join Sarkozy in working toward changes in the global financial system.
France currently holds the presidency of the Group of Eight industrialized economies and the larger Group of 20; Sarkozy wants to lay out his priorities for the French tenure.
He favors making the larger group the main body for global economic coordination. The G20 includes several of the more developed of the poorer nations.
"Sarkozy thinks this is the best framework, and he wants to put an imprint on it," says Daniel Hamilton, director of the Center for trans-Atlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University.
In his turn at the helm of the G20, Sarkozy is looking to focus on reforming the international monetary system, ending excessive price swings in commodity markets and strengthening the International Monetary Fund.
Sarkozy thinks the global monetary system should be more multipolar and not rely so heavily on the US dollar as the world's main reserve currency. He has not proposed specifics about how he envisions a possible future system.
There are no announcements expected during his visit, but Sarkozy hopes to use talks with Obama and other world leaders to present his plans for a G20 meeting scheduled this month.
Leaders from the G8 countries, including Obama, are expected to attend a summit in May in the French seaside Normandy resort town of Deauville. Talks are expected to focus on green growth, innovation and partnership with Africa.
Over lunch with Obama, Sarkozy is also is likely to discuss political issues including Iran, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Ivory Coast.
French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy plans to dine separately with Michelle Obama. Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Finance Minister Christine Lagarde will also be attending.