Europe's most powerful states have proposed concrete reforms to the UN Security Council to give developing powers more say, the French president said on Saturday at a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Canada.
The council has five permanent members with veto powers: Britain, China, France, Russia and the US. Other major states, such as Germany and India, have been calling for years for that elite group to be expanded.
"France and Britain have proposed an interim reform of the UN Security Council. (German) Chancellor (Angela) Merkel supports this reform," Nicolas Sarkozy said.
Diplomats from the countries involved would not be drawn on the substance of their proposal.
But the president of the Council of European Union member states, Herman Van Rompuy, said that it was "an important initiative to rebalance, after 50 years, the composition of the UN Security Council".
Developing states argue that the Security Council is unbalanced because it is dominated by developed states and has no permanent place for new powers such as Brazil, India and South Africa.
There was "extensive discussion" of the proposal at a G8 dinner Friday, Van Rompuy said.
Four of the five veto holders - Britain, France, Russia and the US - are G8 members. Their leaders are set to hold talks with China's president later Saturday at a meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies in Toronto.