INTRODUCTION: Portugal's Prime Minister, Mario Soares, told newsmen in Paris on Monday (7 March) he had secured France's backing for his country's bid to join the Common Market.
GV: Elysee Palace in Paris, France.
SV (MUTE): Portuguese Prime Minister Soares with President Valery Giscard D'Estaing (2 shots)
SV: French Prime Minister, Raymond Barre (right) during talks PAN TO Soares and Giscard D'Estaing.
SV: Prime Minister Soares speaks in French to newsmen.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Portugal's Prime Minister, Mario Soares, told newsmen in Paris on Monday (7 March) he had secured France's backing for his country's bid to join the Common Market.
SYNOPSIS: He had lengthy talks with President Valery Giscard D'Estaing and Prime Minister Raymond Barre during what's considered to be the most difficult stage of his European tour to canvas support for his country's admission. Following another tour late last month, Dr Soares gained the backing of four nations -- Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Italy. Portugal's formal application for membership is expected later this month.
Doctor Soares governments has set 1985 as the target date for the abolition of customs barriers and economic integration with the EEC.
After the meeting with President Giscard D'Estaing, Dr Soares talked to newsmen. He said he had found sympathetic understanding for Portugal's problems. He admitted there were political, economic, procedural and social problems, but said he felt confident that these would be solved. The French have expressed doubts about Portugal's admission, because they fear it would present dangers for both the Iberian peninsula and for the Common Market's present frail stability. There is outright hostility from some French agricultural sectors -- particularly wine and vegetable producers.
But several top officials believe that stopping Portugal's entry could lead to the end of Portuguese democracy. Dr Soare's minority government is supported in the application by two opposition parties, but the powerful Portuguese Communist Party ??? opposes it.