The President met with European Parliament President Simone Veil today. Madame Veil, who presides over the first directly elected European Parliament, is heading a 23-member delegation to the United States.
Madame Veil discussed the evolution of the European Parliament (EP) and the enlarged prospects it enjoys for becoming a significant social and political force in Europe now that its members are elected by universal suffrage. She pointed to the recent EP resolution on Iran in support of international efforts to secure the release of American hostages in Tehran who continue to be held in defiance of all accepted norms of international law. In addition, she discussed the recent EP resolution which condemned Soviet aggression in Afghanistan and which urged EP member countries to reconsider the sending of their national teams to compete in the Moscow Olympics.
The President stressed his admiration for the strength and vigor with which the European' Parliament is addressing major issues of the day, and he reiterated U.S. interest in maintaining close contacts with this evolving institution. In that connection, the President and Madame Veil agreed on the desirability of intensifying transatlantic cooperation in the fields of trade and energy, a development which would accord with the Parliament's growing interest in international affairs.
Madame Veil expressed her personal appreciation for the forcefulness of the President's State of the Union message and felt that a great number of Europeans felt as she did.