One of the more surprising things about the meeting of the "Eurocommunists" in Madrid last March was that they came away calling themselves Eurocommunists. The quotation marks came off in Spain, and the French, Italian and Spanish Communist Parties now willingly talk of Eurocommunism. Spanish Party leader Santiago Carrillo has even published a book bearing the title. The main reason for the change, as French Party leader Georges Marchais explained in Madrid, was the discovery that to be known as Eurocommunists was somehow helping. "I was struck," said Marchais, "by the headline in a reactionary French newspaper yesterday that said, 'Eurocommunism is a farce.' I say no, it is not a farce. It is something serious."
But how serious? That is the question. Portugal's Socialist Premier Mario Soares called the Madrid meeting, "one of the most important of the postwar period - it could have profound effects on world communism." France's President Giscard d'Estaing, however, still speaks of French Communism's "historic decline." Yet all of Europe's leaders are at least covering their bets. Giscard d'Estaing has already begun private contacts with the Left, just in case it wins the parliamentary elections scheduled for 1978. West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who not so long ago was warning the Italians about the dangers of the "historic compromise," had a much-remarked private chat with Italian Communist Party leader Enrico Berlinguer during the recent summit meeting of the European Community in Rome. Norway's ruling Labor Party recently adopted a policy paper urging that Latin Europe's Left be brought into the power structure in some way. Even the United States is finally making official contacts with Communists in France and Italy (though carefully avoiding the Spanish Party until after the elections) - something which both the French and Italian governments have protested.
The Declaration of Madrid stated what Eurocommunism was, and by implication, what it was not. Communism in Western Europe, it said, will respect traditional Western human rights, including universal suffrage, political plurality and individual
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