The British World Development Movement has opened its "EUROPE '73" campaign to mobilise public opinion around the big issues in the relationship between the Common Market and the Third World. WDM's aim in this yearlong campaign is to help prevent the EEC from becoming totally inward looking and to press for a greater European commitment to the problems of the Third World.
The campaign will be organised through the WDM's 130 action groups in Britain, and plans include direct parliamentary lobbying, write-ins to M.P.s and local and national press, consumer action on the Commonwealth sugar issue (see previous story), plus a schools essay competition, and a wide range of local events to publicise the issues at stake. The whole campaign will culminate towards the end of this year in a nation-wide sign-in calling on the EEC to give more official aid and more trading opportunities to the Third World. It is hoped that the sign-in will collect over a million signatures.
On the sugar issue, the WDM wants the European Community to join the International Sugar Agreement as an importing member, a move which would increase the chances of continuing imports of cane-sugar from developing countries. The campaign also calls for stabilising and possibly reducing Europe's own production of beet sugar, pointing out that Europe can afford to re-adjust this aspect of its own economy, create new jobs and re-train those employed in beet-sugar production. The poor countries, on the other hand, cannot afford to provide alternative employment, compensation, and re-training for the thousands now employed on their sugar plantations. The WDM applies a similar argument to the question of textiles, and calls for a phasing out of Europe's tariffs and quotas which restrict imports of low-cost textiles from developing countries.