US-European Community relations on the blink
Copenhagen — The new president of the Council of Europe, Danish Foreign Minister Kjeld Olesen, describes the present relationsip between the United States and its European allies as ''rather dangerous.''
When Mr. Olesen presides over the meeting of the European Community's Council of Ministers in Brussels on July 20, the worsening relations between the EC and the US is expected to be a priority on the agenda.
Citing American steel import tariffs and Washington's attempts to hinder the natural gas pipeline from Siberia to Western Europe, Mr. Olesen says that every effort must be made to reduce the bitterness and avoid an all-out trade war.
The soft-spoken Mr. Olesen advocates ''sincere diplomacy rather than diplomatic sincerity'' and says that although the US Commerce Department is involved in the trade dispute, he wonders how much the US State Department is concerned with the problem.
''This is not a trade technicality and you can't separate trade from politics ,'' he insists. ''We know that the US steel producers have a strong lobby. What will be next? Agriculture? We cannot accept the American argument that our way of handling steel violates GATT (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).''
On the pipeline issue he is equally blunt. ''It is very important to tell our American friends that when we talk about necessary dialogue between East and West it is not only to do with security policy, defense matters, and all that.
''It also has to do with what former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt started many years ago - trade and economic cooperation. I think that so far we have not succeeded in convincing the Americans about the necessity of going on with this.''
Mr. Olesen says that American opposition to the pipeline was based on the argument that such a high-technology operation will create West European dependence on the Soviets, but added that the Europeans have a quite different view.