France and West Germany see themselves as "the motor" or "the backbone" of a progressively united Europe. The joint declaration released Feb. 5 by French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt after three days of talks in Paris reflects this "motor" view of the Bonn-Paris link.
The Giscard-Schmidt declaration stressed that the Soviet intervention has created a serious threat to world peace -- and that "detente couldn't survive another shock of the same order."
Whatever Soviet "intentions" may have been in Afghanistan, the French and German leaders agreed that "the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan is unacceptable."
Citing the United Nations resolution on Afghanistan, Tuesday's joint communi que concluded that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan is necessary.
As a whole, the communique carefully balanced the European wish to show "solidarity" -- without slipping into "alignment" with the United States.
Also, very carefully and diplomatically, it is explained here in Paris, the Giscard-schmidt conclusions offer not specific policies, but a motor, backbone, or framework for the nine members of the European Community to build on together.
President Giscard and Chancellor Schmidt have provided Europe with a general lead -- and will leave it up to Europe as a whole to decide how to proceed from here.