Western European News Digest
European Unions Issue Call for Action Against Locust Funds
Unions from 15 countries and a dozen global organizations meeting at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris March 16 issued "a strong call for the activities of companies to be oriented toward long-term sustainable investment strategies that create wealth for all, and good employment opportunities for workers." Their release further reads:
"The unions noted that private equity firms have in a short period become owners and movers of vast pools of capital and significant swaths of the economy and of employment. The share of private equity investments in the total volume of mergers and acquisitions exceeds 20% in some OECD economies. These alternative funds are highly "leveraged" (i.e., debt-financed) and are exempt from many of the regulations that apply to traditional collective investment schemes, to banks and to insurance companies, notably in the areas of investment-prudential rules and reporting requirements. The very high rates of return required to finance private equity debt-driven buy-outs can jeopardize target companies' long-term interests and provision of decent employment conditions and security for employees. Rather than corporate restructuring for the purpose of shared productivity gains, some private equity firms are seeking to extract maximum value over a short period before reselling the company (or what remains of it), and banking a substantial premium.
"Trade unions' experiences with employment and working conditions in leveraged buy-out firms are alarming. There is a strong concern that the private equity model poses risks to the stability of the international financial system and the sustainability of national economies."
Germans Split Over U.S. Missile Defense Deployment
Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, Free Democrats, and Linkspartei (Left Party) entirely oppose American plans to deploy an anti-missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland, with SPD chairman Kurt Beck even saying that the "money wasted on new weapons systems should rather be spent to protect the climate." Included in the opposition is a strong dose of anti-Americanism among Greens and Linkspartei. The Christian Democrats are in favor of the systems, but prefer a common NATO missile defense policy, in consultation with Russia, to a bilateral deal between the USA and Poland, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The compromise line from both parties' views for the Grand Coalition is that 1) a bilateral U.S.-Polish deal should not be pursued, but instead a joint NATO policy integrating Russia in the project; 2) it is imperative to avoid splits inside NATO, splits between the U.S. and Europe, and splits inside Europe.
European Leaders Break Isolation of Palestinian Government
The international isolation of the Palestinian National Authority continues to break down as more and more Western governments meet with representatives of the new Palestinian unity government between Fatah and Hamas, according to the March 21 edition of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.
The European Union envoy to the Middle East, Marc Otte, met March 20 with Palestinian Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr, and planned to meet with Finance Minister Salam Fayad.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told reporters in Stockholm that he intends to meet with Palestinian President Abu Mazen and two other government ministers during a trip that began on March 24.
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gught also planned to meet with Palestinian officials the week of March 20.
Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen was the first to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the Gaza Strip. Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, which has not yet lifted sanctions, it has long been a key player in the Middle East peace process.
EU 'Renewables' Policy: A New Kind Of Colonialism
Enforcing continued lack of development on the developing sector and perpetuating their role as raw material suppliers, which is a policy of genocide, lies at the core of the European Union's drive for "renewable energy sources."
One aspect of that became public several weeks ago, when U.S. Ambassador to the EU C. Boyden Gray told the Europeans at a Brussels meeting to drop plans for expensive bio-fuels production in Europe, and open their market for mass imports of cheap ethanol from Brazil and Central America. Indeed, the required state funding of bio-fuel production in Europe, to make bio-diesel and ethanol prices affordable, would run into conflict with the policy of the EU Commission to phase out all state funding of production.
Another aspect is the insane idea of constructing huge solar power parks in the North African deserts, to supply Europe with cheap power. That project, running under the name of TREC (Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation), originates with the Club of Rome and has been adopted by the European Commission, in the context of its own EUMENA (Europe-Middle East-North Africa) scheme.
Trilateral Commission Meets, Backs Green Agenda
The Trilateral Commission met between March 16 and 19 in Brussels, to a signal absence of publicity. The single exception was the big media play given to the climate-change ravings of John Deutch, former CIA director. He told Reuters, "If the United States or any other OECD country that is a large producer of greenhouse gas emission is to retain a leadership role in other areas, it cannot just opt out of the global climate-change policy process." He advocated adding another dollar of taxes to each gallon of gasolinea surefire recipe for economic depressionand called for developing clean coal-burning technology and nuclear energy. He also called for creating nuclear explosions in space to induce a "nuclear spring."
Carl Schmitt Legacy Memorial Society Created
An article in the German paper Frankfuerter Allgemeine Zeitung reports on the founding of a Carl Schmitt Legacy Memorial Society in Plettenberg (Sauerland, where he was born). The mood was polarized in Plettenberg after the war, how to deal with this controversial figure from the Nazi erafor it was Carl Schmitt more than any other single figure who developed the Nazi legal theory by which Adolf Hitler ruled.
For Schmitt's 90th birthday in 1978, the SPD mayor organized the presentation of an "honorary ring," after having received assurances by from several law professors. Now, after the formation of the new Schmitt society, the mayor has announced his support, while the city archivist and the former cultural city councillor are among the five members of the Society. They are planning to set up an Internet site, and will start a course on Schmitt at the local adult educational school.
Save the Polar Bear From Animal Rights Activists!
A polar bear cub born at the Berlin Zoo and rejected by its mother, was saved by zookeepers three months ago. While the zoo personnel are determined to keep the healthy cub alive, crazed "animal rights" activists are demanding that it be killed, since its mean and nasty polar bear nature (its role as a "natural predator") is being violated by being fed and played with by human beings, and thus its "dignity" is being stripped away.
Britons Express Loss of Faith in Government
Almost 60% of the British population would not trust the government if it tried to start another war like the one against Iraq, the BBC reports, based on a recent poll. A similar percentage said they believed that the U.S. and U.K. were not right to invade Iraq, and only 29% thought the war justified.