French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged for a closer relationship between France and the UK, ahead of his first state visit to the UK.

He has urged Britain and France to trust each other and work together more. Mr Sarkozy will be in the UK for two days, where he be a guest of the Queen at Windsor Castle and will address both Houses of Parliament.

He and Gordon Brown will have a meeting where they will discuss a variety of issues, including Afghanistan. They are also expected to announce new co-operation on illegal immigration and nuclear energy.

The French President will arrive with his model wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and his mother. During an interview with Radio four’s Today Programme, Sarkozy spoke about the importance of the UK in Europe and of Britain’s relationship with the US, he said:

“I perfectly understand that Britain should wish to keep its special relationship with the US, but that doesn’t stop Britain from taking its rightful place in Europe,”

He also spoke of the importance of Britain’s language, strong economy and defence to Europe. To those British people calling for a referendum on the European treaty, he said: “We need you, the British, within Europe.”

“This treaty respects differences – no-one is asking Britain to change its real identity. Keep your language, your culture, your interests,” he said.

His key points were for France and the UK to “move from being cordial to being friendly”. Whilst calling for a new “Franco-British brotherhood.”

His visit to the UK will raise many issues ranging from sending more French troops to Afghanistan to improving relations between the two countries. However Sarkozy is expected to use his visit to project a more statesmanlike image, in an attempt to repair his reputation and damaged poll ratings since his marriage to Ms. Bruni.