The Common Market "summit meeting" opens in Paris on Thursday (19 October) and the final touches are being put to setting the stage.
The Common Market "summit meeting" opens in Paris on Thursday (19 October) and the final touches are being put to setting the stage. It will be the first meeting of the heads of government of the European Economic Community (EEC) countries since membership was enlarged to nine. The members are now France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, the U.K. and the Irish Republic.
One of the leading figures in European politics, French President George Pompidou, has played down the importance of this week's meeting. "I hope that once the heads of government are sitting around the table the European light will shine a little brighter. France will not seek to put it out. But it will not be a turning point in history - not even in European history."
However, France appears keener than any other member to accelerate moves towards establishing a common European currency, and has also led the way in proposing a joint battle against inflation.
The three newcomers are the U.K., Denmark and the Irish Republic. The U.K. is concerned at Europe's relations with Commonwealth countries which have been offered association status or special trading arrangements. Denmark is anxious to keep EEC topics separate from its other commitments - for example, it strongly believes defence mattes are a NATO concern and does not want them on the agenda either at the coming "summit", or at meeting of foreign ministers of EEC countries. The Republic of Ireland, the least economically-developed member of the Community is hoping to benefit from a proposed policy (which the U.K. supports) of "aid to poorer neighbours", which could lead to exploiting Ireland's undeveloped western seaboard. Irish premier Jack Lynch is also in favour of a Eurocurrency and wants to see clarification of the roles of the European Commission and the European Parliament.