Just a few days before Sunday's (27 April) meeting between leaders of the European Economic (EEC), Italy -- currently chairing the summit, has expressed optimism that agreement can be reached on the controversial question of Britain's contribution to the community budget.
GV "Skull and cross-bones" poster and effigy of sheep at head of farmers' demonstration in paris and farmers at start of march in front of banner (2 shots)
CU Sheep on leash standing with owner
GV PAN Shepherds in traditional costume and on stilts
GV Farmers with banners and demonstration along street (2 shots)
GV INTERIOR British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher comes into room with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and they are seated before reporters (SILENT) (2 shots)
CU Mrs. Thatcher speaking as her Schmidt listens
GV Shop in Rome, Italy, and consumer looking at goods
GV INTERIOR Mrs. Thatcher is greeted by Italian Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga in Rome
GV French fishermen with placards protesting against restrictions on their fishing and arrest by British of two boats
GV PAN Wharf and French fishermen standing by boats PAN ALONG harbour (2 shots)
CUs Posters protesting against fishing rules
CU Mrs. Thatcher expressing views on British contributions to the EEC budget
GV & CU North Sea oil rig and men working on raft in rough waters near rig (2 shots)
GV Men working on drill and CU Drill (3 shots)
CU Placards in French saying "English in league with New Zealanders--leave before we hound you out" and "Mrs. England--play the EEC Game or leave"
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 6: THATCHER: "I have been able to give Chancellor Schmidt out own able to give Chancellor Schmidt out own views about the European Community and you naturally will be aware that we take a very different and I hope much more cooperative attitude than has been taken in the past few years over the development of the community. We pursue it against a background of firm belief in the success of the whole community as an idea and as a practical idea."
THATCHER: "Well of course, I try to cut down the share that we give to the community because the share isn't a fair share. It's much too big a share. Of the nine countries we're seventh of the nine in order of prosperity. So six above us have a greater income per head. Yet we in fact make the largest contribution of all to the Community; larger than Germany, larger than France; much, much richer countries than we are."
Chancellor Schmidt, President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Mrs. Thatcher have already agreed that Britain's budgetary dispute must be urgently solved so that a united Europe can concentrate on pressing international problems. Mrs. Thatcher's willingness to retreat from the hard line that she took at Dublin has been linked to what she sees as a grave situation in Iran and Afghanistan.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Just a few days before Sunday's (27 April) meeting between leaders of the European Economic (EEC), Italy -- currently chairing the summit, has expressed optimism that agreement can be reached on the controversial question of Britain's contribution to the community budget. One of the current problems in the EEC is the often tense relations between the French and the British. The French complain that the British are selfish and half-hearted Europeans and the British accuse the French of ignoring Community rules they don't like.
SYNOPSIS: The so-called "lamb war" symbolises what some say is an historic rift in Anglo-French relations. The French government does not want to lose favour with the farmers -- especially in an election year. And in demonstrations like this one, farmers have made it clear where they stand on the import of British mutton and lamb. The French government has defied a European Court of Justice ruling in order to protect the farmers interests.
British Prime Minister Mrs. Thatcher pledged her government's support for the Community in a meeting with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
But like Italy, Britain is one of the poorest members of the community and Mrs. Thatcher made it clear she wants a better deal. Italian Prime Minister Mr. Cossiga, who is soon to chair the summit, here meets Mrs. Thatcher for private talks. At the Dublin summit, when she demanded more than two billion dollars back from the community, Mr. Cossiga had urged her not to press the question, when, he said, "the rest or the world is in so much greater trouble".
But frequent clashes between the French and the British on a number of Issues causes concern among members of the community. French fishermen complained bitterly when two Brittany fishing boats were taken into custody after they disregarded British rules about the fishing of crayfish and shrimp. The British had already imposed new minimum net sizes which other Common Market countries, including France, wanted delayed until later. Actions like this, and the British government's determination to get some of its contributions back, has created further tension between the two governments.
But the French maintain that North Sea oil has made Britain richer. Nevertheless, after almost a year of listening to British complaints about their contribution to the european budget, they appear ready to compromise, though Mrs. Thatcher may not get nearly as much as she wanted. There is a more conciliatory atmosphere between the two governments, but the discord between them dies hard -- as placards like these carried by French farmers show ... "Mrs. England, play the EEC game or leave."