France today (June 5) ended its 15-month boycott of the Western European Union (W.E.U.) Council,?
France today (June 5) ended its 15-month boycott of the Western European Union (W.E.U.) Council, thereby creating a favourable atmosphere for the imminent negotiations on Britain's application to join the Common Market.
Ministers attending the two-day conference in Bonn, the West German capital, avoided dwelling on the procedural differences which led to the French withdrawal under President de Gaulle in February 1969.
But the meeting comes within a month of the start of negotiations in Luxembourg to consider Common Market membership applications from Britain, Denmark, Norway and Ireland.
French Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann was welcomed cordially by all other Ministers. In a statement, however, he made it clear that in France's view the permanent council of ambassadors and senior officials could only discuss a major world political development if instructed by all seven W.E.U. governments. The original dispute arose over Britain's insistence that the Council discuss the Middle East Crisis despite France's refusal to agree to this.
Mr. George Thomson, British Minister for European Affairs, said Britain had applied for membership of the Common Market for the political advantages of a united Europe as well as the economic benefits which might result.