Cameron, Sarkozy and the Great Handshake Snub that never was

A handshake, earlier
The handshake, minutes before

Various newspapers are reporting that David Cameron has snubbed Nicolas Sarkozy during the meeting of EU leaders this morning. A sequence of screengrabs shows the pair walk past each other, Sarko with his hand out, and Cameron glides past him. It’s brilliant: a tiny vignette of personal hurt and rivalry within the great game of diplomacy.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be true.

The pair had shaken hands about three minutes earlier while waiting for the photoshoot – see above – complete with awkward, wincing shrug: the sort of thing you might do the morning after having a massive drunken row with a friend. Then they went into the conference room. In the video, Sarko can be seen walking towards Cameron, but talking to somebody else, a woman in the background. As he comes past Cameron, he has his hand out, making a gesture to the woman. Cameron lets him past, patting him on the shoulder as he goes.

It’s true that they didn’t shake hands then. But having shaken hands moments before, they didn’t really need to. It’s not a snub, it’s normal social interaction. There’s a danger of reading too much into these little snippets of body language and so on: they’re just two guys trying to do their jobs.

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