Geneva, December 29
Spain is mounting an increasingly aggressive campaign in support of its application to become an associate member of the EEC – it does not envisage full membership until it has reached a far more advanced stage of development. Two factors have so far acted against Spain, General Franco, and oranges.
Trade unions and Socialist parties in the Common Market have so far been opposed to EEC association with Franco’s Spain; and in the EEC Council of Ministers, it is Holland and Belgium which have held out against negotiations on political grounds.
Italy opposes negotiations with Spain on purely economic grounds; it does not want new competition in the EEC’s citrus market, and opposes any enlargement of the Community in the direction of the Mediterranean countries until it has also grown northwards towards Britain and Scandinavia, and a consequently enlarged appetite for oranges.
Spain’s principal champion is Germany. France, too, has been supporting the idea of Spain’s association, but rather less warmly.
Spain first applied for Common Market association in December, 1964. No positive reply has ever been received, although the Common Market Commission has studied the question, and recently submitted proposals to the Council of Ministers. The matter has been deferred until February.
The Spanish authorities are making no secret of their disappointment. They want integration with Europe both on political grounds and for economic reasons because they consider it essential to Spain’s development.
The Commission in its report to the Council of Ministers appears to have recommended a two-stage negotiation with Spain:
1. a commercial treaty aimed at the establishment of an industrial free trade area (and excluding agricultural products)
2. negotiations could open towards a Customs union, and further economic integration after 1972.
There would, however, be no commitment that the commercial treaty would necessarily lead to further negotiations. Alternatively, the Commission has also suggested that the EEC and Spain should study the problem together and make fresh recommendations.