Western European News Digest
Declining Population Leaves Europe to the Beasts
Wolves, wild boar, and brown bears are moving north and west in Europe into rural regions where the population has been fleeing to the cities. "Great swaths of Europe are surrendering to nature as human birthrates plunge and unemployment draws people into the big industrial hubs," The Times of London reported July 18. Farmers' sons are not staying on the farm, but leaving, and whole areas are returning to woodland.
Not only is the European population set to collapseat present birthrates, Europe will lose 41 million people by 2030but also, big areas in Eastern and Southeastern Europe are being abandoned, and now wildlife is coming back. Wolves, which had disappeared from eastern Germany around 1850, are back, having moved from the Carpathian Mountains in Poland to Germany. A million people have left eastern Germany for the West, and whole villages are dying out. Dr. Stefan Kronert, a researcher at the Berlin Institute of Population and Development, pointed to the area of "Prignitz, halfway between Hamburg and Berlinpeople are leaving in droves and the region is becoming more and more like a nature reserve."
The situation is even more extreme in eastern Poland, where many villages have only old people and a few women and children. Everyone else has gone to the cities in Western Europe to work.
In Slovenia, the brown bear population has risen to 700. These bears had moved north to escape the war in Bosnia and Croatia. Now, the bears are moving from Slovenia to the Austrian province of Carinthia, the most depressed region of Austria. Wildcats and wild boar are also spreading.
Bush Appoints GOP Moneybags as Ambassador to Germany
The post of U.S. Ambassador to Germany has remained empty for almost seven months, as an expression of the Bush Administration's disapproval of the Schroeder government. On July 20 Bush finally named a new Ambassador, no doubt in hopes of a near-term election of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) chairwoman Angela Merkel. The previous U.S. Ambassador, Daniel Coates, left Germany in early February, after openly and repeatedly attacking the Schroeder government.
The new nominee, J. Robert Timken of Ohio, has no diplomatic experience and speaks no German, although he is of German ancestry, the Akron Beacon Journal reported July 20. He is, however, both a $200,000 "Pioneer" of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaignmaking him one of the largest fundraisers for the campaign in Ohioand a board member of Diebold Corporation. Diebold provided electronic voting machines throughout Ohio, and openly supported Bush-Cheney in 2004, its CEO speaking of "guaranteeing" Ohio to Bush. Timken is also the heir and current CEO of a 106-year-old family steel alloy and bearing company in Canton. His nomination still has to be confirmed by the Senate.
German Constitutional Court Rejects Arrest Warrant
The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe refused to act on a European arrest warrant against a German citizen, arguing that German law stands above European law, and protects German citizens. This lead item in the European newspapers is an important ruling. The case involves the German/Syrian Mamoun Darkanzalia 46-year-old businessman who became a German citizen in 1990, and who is "suspected" by Spanish authorities of being an important link to al-Queda in Spain and Great Britain, and of having close contact with Osama bin Laden.
The Court argued that the EU arrest warrant is not in question in and of itself. If a German citizen violates the law in a foreign country, he has to be held responsible. This is also the case in international terrorism and organized crime. Whoever is directly involved in criminal structures in a foreign country cannot count on the legal protection of German law.
In many press commentaries, among them a commentary in the Spanish daily El Pais, it is being emphasized that after the French and Netherlands' "No" to the European Constitution, this is a serious setback for the European Unionsince it puts national law above European law.
London Considers Troop Withdrawal from Iraq
British Defense Secretary John Reid confirmed on July 17 the contents of a leaked government memo, which he had signed, stating that Britain is considering reducing its troop presence in Iraq from 8,500 to 3,000 by the middle of 2006, the Baltimore Sun reported July 18. Reid said the memo merely confirms the government's longstanding plan to train Iraqi forces and gradually hand over security responsibility. "It should come as no surprise that we are going through the thinking process of how we achieve that." Reid said that the reduction of British troops "is not going to be an event. That will be a process. I believe it is a process that could start, no more than that, over the next 12 months."
Lambsdorff Worried About 'Rhenish Capitalism'
In an interview in the weekly Die Zeit dated July 21, Otto Count Lambsdorff, former Economics Minister of Germany and now chairman of the European branch of the Trilateral Commission, said he is discontented even with neo-con CDU chairwoman Angela Merkel's campaign platform, because he finds "too much Rhenish capitalism" still reflected there. For Lambsdorff, even the Merkel CDU is still too "cozy" (Kuschelkapitalismus) to be able to carry out the drastic austerity he wants to see. Should Merkel become Chancellor with that platform, her first four-year term would see no monetarist progress from the red-green era, the Count growls.
He is also unhappy with the fact that the additional revenue from the increased value-added tax which Merkel wants, would not result in drastic decreases of the entrepreneurs' tax burden.
Italian Economist Responds to Zepp-LaRouche's Call on D-Mark
On July 19, Italian economist Nino Galloni, who participated in EIR's June 28-29 Berlin seminar, gave the following comment to Agenparl, the press service of the Italian Parliament. It was published under the title, "Those who want to defend the euro are not able to do it."
Agenparl interviewed Galloni on the program of Helga Zepp-LaRouche, chairwoman of the BueSo (Civil Rights Solidarity) party, and candidate for Chancellor in the German elections this fall. She declared herself committed, once elected, to unilaterally withdraw Germany from the Maastricht Treaty and from the European Monetary Union: "I know the positions of Helga Zepp-LaRouche are committed to an economic policy of true development, which today is heavily penalized by the absurdities of Maastricht," said Galloni. "For sure, the euro risks being wiped away if it does not distance itself from the image of spiralling price inflation, even in a situation of deflation, and from a currency at the service of bankers and not the people.
"This image is partially deserved and partially not, but whoever wants to defend the euro is not able to do it in a appropriate way. On the contrary, both the social and economic situation, and the financial one, are gravely worsening, and the remedies proposed by the authorities are an aggravation of what has been the cause of the crisis. Helga Zepp-LaRouche proposes to go back to a logic of productive development, but at the same time she does not deny that the euro could have an important function at least as currency accounting unit."