In Paris, the leaders of the nine-nation European Community have spent two days discussing two of the main problems the Community faces -- its steadily increasing expenditure on agriculture, and energy conservation.
In Paris, the leaders of the nine-nation European Community have spent two days discussing two of the main problems the Community faces -- its steadily increasing expenditure on agriculture, and energy conservation. When the talks ended on Tuesday (13 March) the final communiques made it clear that the leaders had turned down a British-backed proposal to freeze the guaranteed prices paid to Community farmers this year. More than three quarters of the Community budget is spent on agriculture. The British Prime Minister James Callaghan had argued at the summit that more of these funds should be spent on jobs, urban renewal, and modernising industry.
SYNOPSIS: If the leaders meeting at the Elysee Palace could not agree on the Common Agricultural Policy there was a greater measure of accord on the question of energy saving. This was discussed by President Giscard d'Estaing and the other eight heads of state at a private dinner on Monday night.
Jean-Francois Poncet, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs met his opposite numbers at a separate dinner. They assessed the implications of President Carters' peace mission to the Middle East.The Foreign Minister pointed out that a Community statement on the need for a lasting and comprehensive peace settlement, which was first issued two years ago, still stood. Then as now, the Community believes that any settlement must take into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
When he spoke to newsmen after the summit, President Giscard d'Estaing said the leaders had expressed concern at tension on the oil market caused by the Iranian revolution. They had warned that any worsening of the situation would constitute a serious danger for the world economy. In an effort to minimise this threat, the Community had decided to reduce its total oil consumption by 25 million tonnes, a saving of exactly five per cent. President Giscard d'Estaing told correspondents that apart from this years's savings, the nine Community leaders had also agreed on the long-term objective of limiting oil imports by 1985 to last year's figure of just under 500 million tonnes. But, the President pointed out, if this goal was to be reached it would involved major economies and determined efforts to develop alternative energy sources. The other major change which the French President outlined was the introduction of the European Monetary System, or EMS, a scheme designed to protect the Community from the adverse effects of world currency fluctuations. All the Common Market countries except Britain have joined this scheme. President Giscard d'Estaing said it could make a bigger contribution to the economic and social growth of the European partnership than any other measure.