EUROPEAN Community action to help pacify fractious,
post-Communist Yugoslavia leaves uncertain just what policy the
Community's 12 members are applying in this crucial test of the EC's
future political integration.
Facing the first truly European conflict since the fall of the
Berlin Wall in 1989, the EC demonstrated this week why it will be
difficult for its 12 nations to move to a more tightly integrated
foreign policy, as the Community is now trying to do.
"This (Yugoslav) crisis comes as the EC is searching to move from
political cooperation to becoming a strong international actor,"
says Otto Smuck, deputy director of the Institute for European
Politics in Bonn. "It's a transition that was already difficult, but
this shows how deep particular problems, such as the strength of
individual national perspectives, remain."
After the EC's fourth diplomatic mission in a month failed Sunday
to cement a cease-fire in Croatia, an emergency meeting of EC
foreign ministers Tuesday was notable for its efforts to move
discussion of the Yugoslav crisis to broader international
EC officials discussed alternatives but were perhaps saved from
taking more immediate action by the announcement, even as they met,
of a new cease-fire agreement. The Yugoslav presidency said Tuesday
it had reached an agreement with Croatian nationalists, neighboring
Serbs, and the Serbian minority within Croatia's borders on a
cease-fire to begin early yesterday. At this writing yesterday, the
cease-fire was holding.
EC wrestlings resulted in foreign ministers supporting a French
proposal to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council,
while endorsing Germany's request for a meeting of the 35-member
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
The CSCE, which includes the United States and the Soviet Union,
was to meet in Prague today.
Any UN action on the crisis appeared doubtful, however, since
neither the Soviet Union nor China - both of which hold veto power
on the Security Council - look favorably on international
involvement in what they view as one country's internal affairs. The
Soviet Union is also mindful of difficulties it faces with its
The foreign ministers also decided to consider reestablishing aid
to Yugoslavia. The aid was cut when fighting, which has killed more
than 300 in just over a month, broke out. Acting pointedly to
counter Serbian designs for a "greater Serbia," EC foreign ministers
said aid totaling more than $1 billion would not be restored to
those republics refusing a cease-fire or to those trying "to modify
international or national borders by force. …