The nine-nation European Economic Community (EEC) is soon expected to take a major step towards the creation of a directly elected European Parliament.
GV PAN EEC building
GV Demonstrators with green and white banners in favour of European parliament (2 shots)
SV Giscard d'Estaing arrives
SV Giscard and party entering building
SV Callaghan arriving and entering building (3 shots)
CV West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt arrives
SV Italian F.M. Marians Rumor arrives and enters building
SCU Ministers seated at table inside
CU Giscard d'Estaing ZOOM OUT TO Giscard with ministers at table PAN ACROSS ROOM (2 shots)
The new parliament is due to be directly elected by EEC voters from 1978. Its size and distribution of seats has defied settlement for several months. West Germany, Britain, France and Italy would have 81 seats each in the new parliament if the proposals are agreed. The other share-out would be Holland with 25, Belgium 24, Denmark 16, Ireland 15 and Luxembourg six. The direct elections to the parliament will have a major psychological impact on the stagnating community, though at first they have only a limited significance given the present restricted powers of the parliament. The house has a largely consultative role on main community issues and its principal power is its participation in the drawing up of the annual EEC budget.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The nine-nation European Economic Community (EEC) is soon expected to take a major step towards the creation of a directly elected European Parliament. The decision could come within the next two days following a summit meeting which opened in Brussels on Monday (12 July).
SYNOPSIS: The meeting at EEC headquarters in the Belgian capital was picketed by hundreds of demonstrators. Led by a former European Commission President, Jean Rey, the demonstrators were in favour of speeding up the date for elections to the European parliament.
French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing was one of the first arrivals. In the past, progress for elections has been hindered by differences between France and Britain but since the French Premier's recent visit to London it appears this could change. British Prime Minister James Callaghan has agreed to the latest proposals on the parliament along with several other leaders.
The accord calls for a 410-seat assembly to replace the present 198-seat chamber voted by national legislatures. Besides the parliament, the summit will negotiate on Greece's application for membership. The main difficulty here is the community's aim to maintain a balance in its relations with Greece and neighbouring Turkey. Both are associated to the EEC but Ankara is not seeking full membership because its economy is less advanced.