Energy and the Future of Europe

Courtesy Reuters

Much water has flowed under the bridge since Henry Kissinger made his much-publicized "Year of Europe" speech in April 1973. It was, one will remember, rapidly construed by some member countries of the European Economic Community as a device to restore American leadership in an Alliance weakened by years of tussle between the EEC and the United States. The two sides had been at variance over money, trade and defense, to mention only the major issues. And the then-Special Assistant to the President already perceived the emerging issue of energy as one of the most ominous problems that faced the industrialized countries. Unfortunately, although he referred to this issue in the April 1973 speech, the United States itself was hardly moving toward a national energy policy, while in Europe the EEC preferred to ignore the problem almost completely, as was evidenced by the abortive meeting of the Energy Ministers of the Community in May of 1973.

So Mr. Kissinger's call elicited from the Community countries only an evasive reaction. First, they decided essentially to ignore the American demand that trade, money and defense should be seen in a common perspective. Then they insisted that before they could negotiate even on trade or money they must work out a common position, and applied the same rule to the broad redefinition of Euro-American relations. The result was a long process that lasted through the summer of 1973, finally producing a "declaration of the European identity" and a draft of a U.S.-EEC declaration mainly focused on their economic relations.

Even from the Community standpoint, however, the new primacy given to political cooperation seemed to some Europeans a latent threat to the "interlocking" process that lies at the foundations of the Community. The temptation to opt for the path of least resistance is always very strong among the Community countries; thus they will more readily accept a common stance on a political issue where it does not carry with it any possibility of giving more substance to

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.