Keep calm: this was 30 years ago. By then Greek prime-minister Andreas Papandreou (yes, the father) was also involved in late-night talks with european leaders. By then Greece was threatning to veto the entry of Spain and Portugal into the common market the following year. In exchange for lifting the veto, Greece was demanding 2 billion dollars in special agricultural aid.
It is worth reading the full 1985 article of The New York Times. Threats of Grexit, domestic political pressures, an european consensus against Greece and a trong female leader losing patience: it is all there. Things really haven’t changed much.
BRUSSELS, Saturday, March 30— Western European leaders of the Common Market began crucial negotiations here Friday night with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou of Greece, who has threatened to veto the entry of Spain and Portugal into the market next year.
After late-night talks with Mr. Papandreou, the leaders said early today that he stuck by his vow to block the two countries unless the other market members gave Greece nearly $2 billion in special agricultural aid.
Greece has said it needs the money to offset the effects on its economy of increased competition from Spanish and Portuguese products when those nations join the market, formally called the European Economic Community.
The European leaders gathered in Brussels on Friday afternoon, just hours after their foreign ministers worked out terms to make Spain and Portugal the 11th and 12th members of the trading group. It was thought that the ministers’ accord had brought an end to several years of negotiations over the entry of the two nations. Chairman Expresses Disappointment
But today, the meeting’s chairman, Prime Minister Bettino Craxi of Italy, told reporters he was ”disappointed” by the lack of agreement so far in talks with Mr. Papandreou. Other high Italian officials said a settlement seemed unlikely at this two-day meeting.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain said of the negotiations Friday night, ”Frankly, we are not getting anywhere.”The British spokesman said all the other Common Market governments were ”delighted with the enlargement agreement.”
Many of the leaders called the accord on the complex package of membership terms, which Greece had accepted, a historic step in Europe’s quest for greater unity.
”The European Community is alive and in the final phase of its completion,” Prime Minister Wilfried Martens of Belgium said Friday as the session opened.
Mr. Craxi said, ”Europe is now finally achieving its true shape.”
Admitting Spain and Portugal should also help the Common Market solve its longstanding fiscal problems and enable it to concentrate on strengthening free trade between the members and building up their industrial and technological base.
Threat Carries Weight
Mr. Papandreou can carry out his threat because the entry of the new member nations will go before the parliaments of all the Common Market members, as well as the parliaments of the two countries seeking membership. If approved, Spain and Portugal would become members on Jan. 1, 1986.
Other market members also take Mr. Papandreou’s threat seriously because of his long record of provocative statements against other Western powers.
In particular, Mr. Papandreou has threatened to withdraw from both the Common Market and NATO and to close United States military bases in Greece.
At the last high-level meeting of Common Market nations in Dublin last December, Mr. Papandreou angered other leaders by demanding that the market pay the three present Mediterranean members $6 billion over five years in special agricultural aid, with about $2 billion going to Greece. Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany and Prime Minister Thatcher of Britain immediately dismissed the sum as too large.
Since then, Jacques Delors, president of the Common Market’s executive commission, has offered to give the farmers in Greece, France and Italy $1.4 billion in grants over the next five years and $1.7 billion in loans.
Compromise Seems Possible
Mr. Papandreou was reported by other delegations Friday to have said he was willing to negotiate on Mr. Delors’s proposals, provided that Greece gets close to the $2 billion that it would have received under Mr. Papandreou’s demand. But Chancellor Kohl’s spokesman said the trade group’s offer was still too large for Bonn to accept.
Officials from several market countries noted that Mr. Papandreou faced difficult domestic pressures that might make it hard for him to compromise.
They mentioned the national elections that are due in Greece by October, saying the Prime Minister had an obvious interest in being seen as fighting hard for the best possible deal in Brussels.
But Mr. Delors has said he will withdraw his compromise offer if Mr. Papandreou rejects it and that his next proposal will be less generous to Greece.