Western European News Digest
Former French PM Calls for a 'Bretton Woods II'
PARIS, Dec. 5 (EIRNS)Former French Prime Minister and economist Michel Rocard called today for the emergency convocation of "a global conferencea Bretton Woods IIto adopt strict rules to contain today's wayward financial markets." Rocard, a signer of the call by Helga Zepp-LaRouche for the convening of such a New Bretton Woods conference, included his call in an article, "Ignoring the Storm," distributed in seven languages by Project Syndicate (and printed, for example, in the Swiss paper Le Temps). Rocard, echoing LaRouche, and reflecting the personal intervention of LaRouche's collaborator in France Jacques Cheminade, denounced the dismemberment of the social welfare state since the abandonment of the fixed exchange rates of the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s.
Deadlock Broken in Bosnia
Dec. 6 (EIRNS)-Indicating major international diplomatic efforts behind the scenes to defuse some difficult situations, the deadlock between Serbia and the Croat-Bosniak Federation in Bosnia (which, since the Dayton Accords of 1995, form the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina) has been broken. The Bosnian Serbs had opposed any reforms as an attempt to abolish the Republic of Serbia, which was played up, especially by the British press, to accuse Russia and Serbia of creating a destabilizing "domino effect" in the region, as revenge for the West's position on Kosovo. While problems remain, finally after a lot of confrontation with new EU High Representative Slovenian Miroslav Lajcak, leaders of all three constituencies in late November agreed on police and governance reforms, which were set as a precondition for a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). The EU on Dec. 4 signed an accord with Bosnia-Herzegovina as a first major step towards joining the EU by initializing an SAA. EU-Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said, that "all those who spoke about [the] uncertain and difficult future of Bosnia-Herzegovina were wrong," according to the daily Nezavisne Novine.
British Leaders Use Kosovo To Attack Russia
Dec. 6 (EIRNS)As the date of Dec. 10 neared, on which the final "Troika"-report is to be delivered to the UN on the situation of Kosovo, leading British politicians and press are set on creating maximum destabilization. The British government, which supports a "quick independence" of Kosovo, has "offered" through the Foreign Office to be the first NATO country to send extra troops. British Foreign Minister David Milliband, in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera today, again called for Kosovo independence, while denying a precedent for other countries. "The status quo is unsustainable and this is the point, where we must start now," Milliband said.
Conservative leader David Cameron, in a speech in Washington on Nov. 29, accused the Kremlin of stirring up trouble in the Balkans and warned of a new crisis by Christmas. He called this "a direct threat to our national security" and demanded "decisive action now to prevent it." Liberal Lord Paddy Ashdown, in a BBC interview, accused the Russians and the Serbian government of creating trouble in Bosnia and Kosovo, and demanded troop reinforcements "to try" to keep the peace.
Sarkozy: Work More To Earn More
PARIS, Nov. 30 (EIRNS)French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave an hour-long, prime-time TV interview last night, in which he threatened to arrest those who fired on police during the rioting in a Paris suburb earlier this week. He praised the cool-headedness of the French police who didn't fire a shot at the assailants, although 82 armed police sustained gunshot wounds.
Sarkozy also announced measures to respond to the growing anger against the drop in living standards, since prices of energy, food, and housing are shooting up. The French press remarked, that since Sarkozy started his Presidency with tax breaks for the wealthy, there is no more money left for increasing wages or spending. Work more to earn more, is the President's theme song. Overtime and extra workdays on Sundays are supposed to generate growth and raise people's income.
Alleged BAE Briber Probed by Austrian State Prosecutor
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)Austria's state prosecutor has confirmed that Alfons Mensdorff Pouilly, who served as an business agent for the British defense firm BAE Systems, is under investigation for possible bribery in the sale of JAS-Gripen jet fighters manufactured by the Anglo-Swedish company Saab-BAE systems, in the Czech Republic and Hungary. According to a statement by the office of state prosecutor Gerhard Jarosch on Nov. 26 to the Austrian Press Agency (APA), based on information from prosecutors in Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, there is enough evidence to suggest that criminal offenses have been carried out. Swedish prosecutor Christer van der Kwast said results of his own investigation could be completed by next Spring.
Investigations in this case are also being carried out by Swiss authorities.
Mensdorff Pouilly is of one of the oldest Austro-Hungarian oligarchical families related to the British royal family. Alfons Mensdorf Pouilly is also a cousin of the widow of Brig. Gen. Tim Landon, who, until his death earlier this year, was a key business agent for BAE. Mrs. Katerina Landon is a member of the Austrian oligarchical Esterhazy family, whose importance in the Austro-Hungarian Empire was second only to the Habsburgs.
Depression Hits Germany's Lower Income Brackets
Dec. 5 (EIRNS)All the establishment propaganda that the subprime mortgage crisis is under control, has apparently not convinced 80% of the German population who know there is an economic collapse, because they feel itpersonally. An opinion poll done by the FORSA Institute for the Dec. 6 issue of Stern weekly, found that 83% of Germans do not see at all what Chancellor Angela Merkel claims she seesthe "upswing"; 49% told the pollsters that, in order to keep their standard of living, they have to work more than before, to compensate for inflation.
The worsening personal financial, economic, and social situation of more and more Germans is also causing increasing unrest among labor unions. Whereas the railway engineers' strike has been suspended until late January, new strikes have been planned: Retail store employees are on warning strikes during the pre-Christmas period, and other service sector workers are expected to stage warning strikes, likely in January or February. Metal workers, construction workers, food industry workers, and public servants are thinking about strikes. Even if the railway engineers come to an agreement with management, they may be called to strike again, because they are members of the public servants' union as well.
France: Violent Video Producers Launch Ad Campaign
PARIS, Dec. 3 (EIRNS)Reflecting the backroom debate over the growing opposition to violent video games, two French papers ran half-page ads opposing the outlawing of video games. On Nov. 29 in Le Parisien, and on Dec. 1 in Le Monde, the trade association of editors of entertainment software (Syndicat des éditeurs de logiciels de loisirsSELL), comprised of the 32 major French producers, took out half-page ads showing either a skateboard or an electric wall plug, and saying: "One would never imagine that a skateboard [or an electric plug] could be eliminated under the pretext that it is dangerous. Why would it be different for video games?" The campaign is also sponsored by PEGI (Pan European Game Information).