Greece will use its six-month presidency of the European Community to push for greater Western European independence from United States policies, according to statements made after the just-concludedcommunity summit meeting in Stuttgart, West Germany, by Greek Premier Andreas Papandreou.
Greece, which is currently engaged in troubled negotiations with the United States on the future of the U.S. bases on its soil, will assume the rotating presidency July 1.
Papandreou, observers said, appeared to be trying to cast the difficulty over the bases in a less unfavorable light by suggesting that it reflects a wider conflict of interest between the European Community and the United States.
"We have been shouting about the conflict between European and U.S. interests for years, but Europe entertained great illusions and delusions about American policies; now I think all the recent bitter experiences, especially of Williamsburg, have made the EEC partners see sense," Papandreou told Greek journalists on his way back to Athens from Stuttgart yesterday.
By the end of September, Papandreou said, Greece will have put together a plan for community reform that it will bring before the other partners. The plan will touch upon the major problems confronting the community, including relations with the United States, he said.
"If adopted," he said, "these proposals will lead to a community different from the one we know, a community of the people."
The Common Market countries have standing differences with Washington in such areas as agriculture and the steel industry, where the United States is complaining of Western European "dumping" at low, subsidized prices in shared markets. The Western Europeans in turn have quarreled with the Reagan administration over high U.S. interest rates.
However, Papandreou's seizure of the issue of Western European-American confrontation just before Greece assumes the presidency of the Common Market is being interpreted as a symptom of his problems with Washington over the bases. Negotiations on the bases have been going on in Athens since October. Until last week there was every indication that Papandreou wished to resolve the issue before taking the presidency July 1 by signing a defense cooperation agreement with Washington.
Things went sour Tuesday, however, when, as all seemed set for the clinching of a base accord, the Greek Socialists had an 11th-hour change of heart, setting new, tougher terms. They apparently feared Communist and hard-line Socialist reaction to the accord, which could be terminated but also extended beyond a five-year expiration date.
Papandreou also said yesterday that Greece will move unilaterally to close down the bases if Washington does not act to reach an agreement soon. This was his toughest statement on the subject since he came to power in October 1981 on a platform calling for closing "the bases of death."