Hesitant Europe draws together at Luxembourg summit

Europe, facing a host of troubles, is reluctantly closing ranks. That is the feeling that emerged from the exhaustive and stubborn meeting in Luxembourg April 27 and 28 among heads of state and foreign ministers of the nine-nation European Community.

The EC reaffirmed its unanimous support for President Carter's call for sanctions against Iran -even after hearing news of US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's resignation.

728n it slogged on to the internal issues that have recently blurred the outlines of community cohesiveness: Britain's lopsided contribution to community coffers, and the British-opposed call for an increase in EC farm prices.

The Nine took note of the fact that an increasing number of countries had joined the bankwagon too boycott the Moscow Olympics.

And, in the margins and interstices of late-night and daylong discussions, the cumminity considered how to convey to America its grave misgivings about US foreign policy, which is seen here as mesmerized by Iran -rather than concentrating on the more pressing problem of Afghanistan.

But committed Europeans, who have seemed to be an increasingly beleaguered minority recently, can take some satisfaction from the meeting. EC solidarity, stalled at the Nine's summit meeting in Dublin last November, has been kicked into gear by events in AFghanistan and Iran.

The Community has a tendency to break down over such parochial issues as lamb imports, fishing rights, and agricultural prices. So although the agreement reached April 28 does not fully resolve these things, it is significant. It suggests that Europe, drawn willy-nilly into the vacuum created by what is perceived as incoherent American leadership, may be able to rise to the occasion.

One explanation offered for the change in tone since Lublin is that Britain's PRime Ministe Margaret Thatche has abandoned the stridency of her earlier demands for "broad.balance" -- a catch phrase for getting back as much more as she put in.

At press time, observers close to the discussions were suggesting Britain would accept one-year-only ceiling ofL360million ($810 million) on its contribution -the most generous offer so far. This would cut to one-third Britain's scheduled contribution for 1980.

In return, Mrs. Thatcher would agree to a package permitting a 5 percent rise in farm prices and relenting on lamb imports and fishing rights. She would also postpone her demand for a permanent budget solution until further meetings.

On American sanctions against Iran, many European leaders privately are said to have grave doubts over the wisdom of such a plan. But they affirm the need for Western solidarity -especially since America "apres Vance" may be stuck on what many see as a curse of accelerating hawkishness.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Hesitant Europe draws together at Luxembourg summit
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today