BRUSSELS — The European Community on Tuesday delayed consideration of $1 billion in food aid to the Soviet Union to reprimand the Kremlin for its crackdown in the secessionist Baltic republics.
A $540-million technical assistance program to that country may also be reconsidered in response to violence by Soviet troops in Latvia and Lithuania, the European Parliament's budget panel chief said in Strasbourg, France.
"We have to make the Soviets see that their behavior cannot be acceptable," said Jean-Jacques Kasel, Luxembourg's foreign affairs political director. Luxembourg holds the rotating EC presidency.
Both aid packages were promised at a European summit in Rome in mid-December. They came in response to Moscow's pleas for assistance to prop up the faltering Soviet economy and offset shortages of food and other commodities.
But the European Parliament, the Community's legislative arm, announced Tuesday in Strasbourg that it was putting off considering the food aid until its next meeting Feb. 18-22.
In Strasbourg, Alain Lamassoure, chairman of the European Parliament's budget committee, said the legislature could postpone the food and technical assistance programs indefinitely if and when they are passed by EC ministers.