Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Sebastien Pirlet

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s relations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy have sunk to a new low after she discovered he had mocked her for taking a second helping of cheese.

A slanging match between the two at a retirement party on Wednesday for European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet was said to have been so loud that it was audible even as the orchestra struck up the EU anthem “Ode to Joy”.

Merkel is understood to have been hurt after learning that Sarkozy had told another EU leader that over dinner “she says she is on a diet and then helps herself to a second helping of cheese”.

Last month allegations emerged that Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi had told a newspaper editor that the 57-year-old Chancellor was an “un****able fat ****”. - Daily Mail