Trichet responds to Sarkozy criticism

Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, has again hit back at French president Nicolas Sarkozy's attempts to criticise and influence monetary policy.

Speaking on French television and radio on Sunday, Trichet said the poor performance of the French economy was because of the state of the country's public finances rather than the ECB's decision to refuse to reduce interest rates, as was suggested by Sarkozy.

The ECB president said the country was "in very great difficu