The 12-nation European Community remained divided on major trade issues as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher accused France and Germany of practicing protectionism for their farmers.
"It's quite clear there are some members who quite openly take the view that the Community is protectionist and will quite openly remain protectionist," Thatcher said Sunday at the end of a two-day summit of EC leaders.The EC has been unable to agree on how to cut farm subsidies in the 105-nation talks of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which are due to end in six weeks in Brussels.
At a 16-hour meeting of EC agriculture and trade ministers in Luxembourg on Friday, France and Germany again rejected a proposal by the EC Executive Commission to cut farm supports by 30 percent in the decade ending in 1996.
The United States has proposed slashing agriculture subsidies by more than 75 percent by the end of the decade.
"It is urgent" that the EC quickly reach agreement, said Thatcher, who supports the EC Commission plan. "We have been trying to formulate the Community's negotiating position since September 1986," when the trade talks began in Uruguay.
French President Francois Mitterrand played down Thatcher's criticism but acknowledged that "France does not accept the proposal of either the United States or the Commission."
Another meeting of EC ministers was scheduled for Tuesday in Luxembourg, but there were indications the meeting could be postponed until later in the week.