* Sarkozy to spell out agenda on commodities, monetary reform
* Programme has been discussed with France's G20 partners
By Daniel Flynn
PARIS Jan 24 President Nicolas Sarkozy will
spell out his plans for reforming the international monetary
system and curbing volatility in food and fuel prices on Monday
in a keynote speech on France's year-long G20 presidency.
The address, billed as the official launch of his ambitious
agenda, will present the findings of whirlwind consultations
with G20 leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and
China's Hu Jintao on the three key areas of France's presidency.
Seeking to capitalise on his G20 leadership to improve his
dire poll ratings at home, Sarkozy is expected to be most
specific about measures to tackle high commodities prices,
rather than his designs for overhauling the world's monetary
system and reforming global economic governance.
A spike in world food prices to record highs in December has
pushed commodities up the G20 agenda. [ID:nL3E7C70I1] But
Sarkozy appears to have garnered scant foreign support for plans
to wean the world economy off its reliance on the U.S. dollar
and establish a "new Bretton Woods" system. [ID:nLDE70C2DE]
Sarkozy is scheduled to deliver a 40 minute speech starting
at 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) that outlines France's priorities for the
year. After the address, he is expected to answer questions for
more than an hour.
"Everything he will put forward has been discussed with the
main partners," said a senior advisor to Sarkozy. "These are not
solutions but some action points and objectives which G20
countries are ready to work on."
For a Factbox on key dates of France's G20: [ID:nLDE70C1RN]
For a Factbox on its main topics click on: [ID:nLDE70M0ER]
For stories on G20 issues, click on: [G20-LEN-RTRS]
MORE TRANSPARENCY FOR COMMODITIES
In recent weeks, French officials have played down hopes for
achieving a major breakthrough on monetary reform by the time
France's presidency concludes at a Cannes summit in November,
but they point to commodities as an area where much can be done.
Sarkozy's conservative UMP party has strong roots in rural
France and the commodities theme is seen as a potential vote
winner in next year's presidential election.
A poll on Sunday showed Sarkozy's approval rating
languishing near record lows at 30 percent.
He is expected to discuss ways of making commodities and
energy markets more transparent -- including curbs on
derivatives -- and of improving data on output and inventories.
On monetary reform, France's ruminations on the possibility
of giving the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing
Rights a role as a reserve currency have evoked a muted response
from emerging market partners and a stern silence from
French suggestions for creating a permanent institutional
framework for the G20, parallel to the IMF and World Bank, have
also failed to gain traction with some countries, like Japan,
Monday's speech to some 300 diplomats and journalists is
also due to touch on current issues such as last week's threats
against France by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the recent
crisis in Tunisia, where Paris was a long-time supporter of
ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. [ID:nLDE70E0BP]
(Additional reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Yves Le Guernigou;
Editing by Noah Barkin)