President of the Government of Spain Felipe Gonzalez Marquez yesterday told a Paine Hall audience that the European Community is striving to put itself politically and economically on an equal footing with the United States by the 1990s.
Describing himself as "a son of a dictatorship born out of the Spanish Civil War," Gonzalez, a leader of the Spanish Socialist Party, said his nation is still working to recover from the "repression of creativity and imagination" under General Francisco Franco.
Gonzalez said other governments shared his ideal of parity with the United States, nothing that the European Economic Community's heads of state recently convened in Brussels to set in motion a plan for cooperation to improve the international status of Western Europe as a whole.
However, for the plan to be successful, both the U.S. government and the European governments must overcome many obstacles, he said. For example, European governments assume that the U.S. tends to "act on its own," to be "selfish," and to involve itself in European affairs only in order to reap benefits.
The U.S. government must shed this image and focus its foreign policy on areas other than Europe, said Gonzalez. This would allow the European countries to assume more responsibility for their own security, he said.
Gonzalez also argued that if the U.S. government sincerely desired to be an equal partner with the European Community, then it should not restrain the military and technological development of European allies. He said that following these steps would lead to a more equal international distribution of power instead of the bipolarity of the post-WWII period.
Under his leadership, Gonzalez said, the Spanish government has been able to break out of its traditionally isolationist mold. Gonzalez said 300,000 new jobs have been created, a "cultural awakening" is spreading, and the nation's scientific achievements have increased.
The Spanish president said Franco's regime could not have produced such advances because it discouraged innovation. Seeing this, said Gonzalez, the Spanish people have come to realize that the Spanish nation-state of the nineteenth century was inept at confronting twentieth century international political problems and the future.
Gonzalez said he hoped that the changes he has begun within Spain will help the nation assume more responsibility for the security of Europe and to bring the world closer to a multipolar balance of power.