Mitterrand ends 'icy' Spain visit
Madrid — Spanish-French relations have never been particularly cordial, but now they've reached an unprecedented level of barely concealed hostility.
Francois Mitterrand, the Socialist President of France, concluded June 24 a three-day official visit that has been termed one of the iciest of any head of state since the death of General Franco, Monitor contributor Ana Martinez-Soler reports.
The Spanish hosts were in fact puzzled as to why Mr. Mitterrand even bothered to come. They considered the visit most untimely. During the most recent round of European Community negotiations in Luxembourg it was France that dragged its feet on Spanish entry into the Community.
The Spaniards feel France has tried to prevent Spain's membership in the EC because of the Spanish threat to French agriculture and textiles. The Spanish press has claimed this is equivalent to a lack of support of Spanish democracy.
For the Spaniards, the other unforgivable sin of France is refusal to extradite Basque Nation and Liberty (ETA) terrorists, many of whom enjoy political asylum in France and use southern France as a base for terrorist operations and the collection of extortionist ''revolutionary taxes'' from Spanish businessmen. President Mitterrand has repeatedly refused to give any guarantee of a change of attitude on these thorny issues.