A gain for European Parliament

For years, the European Parliament has been pleading for more power. But the other institutions forming the European Community triad - the Council of Ministers and the Commission - have been too jealous to bow to the request.

Now comes the best boon yet for the Parliament pleaders, Monitor contributor Gary Yerkey reports.

It is a letter - released here - from US Secretary of State George P. Shultz to Senate majority leader Howard H. Baker Jr. and other congressional bigwigs urging closer links with the Parliament as a first step toward healing the rifts in the Atlantic alliance caused by differences over the Soviet gas pipeline and other issues.

Mr. Shultz's letter points to the growing feeling among some Europeans that the Reagan administration stands ready to reduce its commitment to Western Europe at the drop of another transatlantic row.

''Any such feeling,'' Mr. Shultz said, ''would be mistaken.'' But he warned that such a view could ''take on a life of its own'' if greater efforts to strengthen the Atlantic partnership were not forthcoming from the American side.

US-European relations are approaching a ''historic crossroads,'' Mr. Shultz added. Improved relations between US congressmen and members of the Strasbourg, France-based European Parliament could help point the way. Mr. Shultz defended his point by noting that the Parliament has been playing an increasingly active role in foreign policy - especially regarding Poland, Central America, Afghanistan, and the United States - and has even had some success in influencing EC policy.

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