STEPS taken at the European Community summit in Dublin this week
express a new level of coordinated action by European leaders.
Three of the two-day summit's principal topics - intensified
economic and monetary union for the 12-nation EC, a parallel project
for enhancing political integration within the Community, and
Western aid to the Soviet Union - are all being pushed along by
prospects for a political and economic German giant among smaller
The 12 European leaders agreed on the idea of substantial
economic assistance to help support the reforms being pursued by
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. They asked the EC's executive arm
in Brussels, the Commission, to study the needs and most effective
applications for two types of aid, short-term credits and a more
long-term reform-assistance package.
The position on Soviet aid is intended in part as a message to
next month's G-7 summit in Houston of the West's major industrial
nations, and particularly to the United States.
But the decision is also viewed by EC observers as a reflection
of the European leaders' determination to keep Germany's assertive
action within a European context.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was not alone with her
concern that substantial assistance now might only put off the
further Soviet reforms Western leaders believe they must undertake,
EC analysts say. But there is also a broad desire not to leave
Germany going off in that direction on its own.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl already announced last week that the
German government will guarantee $3 billion in bank loans to the
Soviets. Although the European leaders did not go beyond their
request for a study of Soviet needs, their discussions included
references to a long-term need for more than $15 billion in economic
assistance, several government spokesmen said.
The European Commission is sending a delegation, including
President Jacques Delors, to the Soviet Union July 18-20. It appears
likely an initial decision of EC short-term assistance will be taken
in the fall. The Italian government, which assumes the European
Council presidency from the Irish next month, has scheduled a summit
for October 27.
"We would expect some action to be taken by winter time, which
would correspond to the next crucial period of need," says a
spokesman for Chancellor Kohl.
The summit's action on Soviet aid demonstrates the kind of
integrated political steps the EC increasingly has been led to take
since last year's events in Eastern Europe, and especially since
German reunification became clear. …