EC summit looks beyond entry of Spain, Portugal
As a two-day European Community summit begins here today, leaders of the 10 member nations face a decision on the planned 1986 entry of Spain and Portugal into the EC. But they also will discuss changes within the EC that could determine its future for the next several years, officials here say.
Should this summit take positive action on these subjects, it would mark a change from recent years of deadlock. Given the past record of inaction, many here feel it is by no means certain the 10 leaders will be more successful than in the past.
But the prevailing view is one of relative optimism.
``Things have begun moving ahead,'' says EC Commission President Jacques Delors.
Much of this optimism depend on successful completion of the negotiations with Spain and Portugal. Should the last-ditch effort fail, it could set the entire timetable and atmosphere back for years, officials say, because of the complication of elections in numerous countries.
But many say the summit will tackle two reports, prepared by groups of national representatives, that recommend improvements in the EC's decision-making process. One recommendation is to limit the power of national vetoes in ministerial-council decisions in favor of majority voting. Another one would be to foster a ``Europe of citizens,'' rather than the bureaucratic orientation of the existing EC institutions.
Many expect Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, who will preside over the summit, to propose a conference beginning this fall to draw up some new treaties. These would cover closer foreign-policy coordination among the members, some degree of EC involvement in defense issues, and more powers for the European parliament, which is now confined to a limited say over the EC budget.