President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has slammed the Irish government for following “an American model” of government which he claims led them to ruin.

He was speaking during harsh exchanges between him and Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen at a European Union summit on Friday.

Sarkozy is demanding that Ireland increase its corporate rate tax and bring it into line with other EU countries, but Cowen steadfastly refused to give any such promise.

In what was described as a stormy lunch and a “bloodbath at times” by a European diplomat, Sarkozy claimed to have saved Ireland.

“I have saved you, I went to parliament on your behalf,” Sarkozy said to Cowen, speaking about the bailout.

A diplomat present reported that “Sarkozy criticised the Irish choice of the American model” for their economy.

“Cowen made clear the toxic system was not due to the American model," the diplomat told the Irish Times.

German chancellor Angela Merkel also told the media that Germany wants to “initiate steps” on corporate tax, a clear slap at Ireland.

Some Europeans are trying to link Ireland’s demand to renegotiate their bail out to them increasing the corporate tax.

Prime Minister Cowen would not say if any link would be made between Ireland increasing its tax  and lower interest on Ireland’s bailout loans.