London, Mar 25: French President Nicolas Sarkozy is taking intensive English lessons in order to impress his hosts during his state visit to Britain this week. Even though he will make his speech to a joint session of Parliament in French, he is said to be keen to impress Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown with a few well-chosen turns of phrase in private conversation.
''The President is very eager to demonstrate his commitment to all things Albion (most ancient name of Great Britain),'' one French official said, and that includes speaking the language, the Daily Telegraph reported. Linguistic help is at hand in the shape of his wife Carla Bruni, a native Italian, who speaks perfect French and English.
In one internet clip dating back to his time as finance minister, Mr Sarkozy tried his hand at speaking English and told foreign investors, ''We will be 'appy to 'elp you make money in France,'' in a barely comprehensible Clouseau twang.
During the visit, Mr Sarkozy and Mr Brown are due to make a series of defence cooperation deals, announce closer ties on developing nuclear energy and make a joint statement on the global financial crisis, as well discussing immigration and the EU.