From Volume 7, Issue 3 of EIR Online, Published Jan. 15, 2008

Western European News Digest

French Officials Back LaRouche Call for New Monetary System

Jan. 10 (EIRNS)—A substantial group of mayors of French cities and towns, including Members of Parliament, are publicly backing the recent call, issued by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, for governments to agree on a new international monetary system, returning to the principles of Bretton Woods, to replace the collapsed global casino called the "floating-exchange-rate system."

A Jan. 9 press release by the Solidarité et Progrès party in Paris, headed by LaRouche's friend and ally Jacques Cheminade, is called "Faced by a Banking Crash: Officials in Favor of the New Bretton Woods of LaRouche." In addition to a regional vice-president and a growing list of mayors, signatories include Etienne Chouard, whose Internet site catalyzed the opposition in France to the globalist European Constitutional Treaty in May 2005, and the founder of Reseau Voltaire, author Thierry Meyssan.

Banks Anticipate Break-Up of European Monetary Union

Jan. 8 (EIRNS)—The Daily Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard today reported on a document from BNP Paribas, forecasting a break-up of the European Monetary Union (EMU), because of the "Latin risk"—i.e., Spain and Italy. The document pushed the scenario of a public debt crisis, saying that it is probable that the spread between Italian, Spanish, and German state bonds will reach 60 basis points this year, meaning a real crisis.

Although such a scenario rumored for years, it is a real possibility under serious crisis conditions.

The author of the report, London-based head of currency strategies Hans Redeker, over-dramatizes current figures in order to make his point. For instance, he claims that Italy's public debt is increasing and is now at 108% of GDP, whereas 2007 figures show that the debt is down, at 104% of GDP. However, a run on Italian state bonds, 50% of which are owned by foreign investors, could prompt a debt crisis. Maybe that is what subprime-ridden BNP Paribas wants to achieve.

German Bank Balks at Bailout, Defends Common Good

Jan. 9 (EIRNS)—The local savings bank of Rheine, a city in Germany's state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is making headlines with its opposition to a phony bailout scheme for West Landesbank, that state's bank. Rheine opposes an agreement by which the regional savings bank association gave 750 million euros for a recapitalization of West LB, maintaining that since the agreement was made over the head of the Rheine savings bank and without its approval, therefore Rheine is not willing to pay its share of 500,000 euros in that phony deal.

In a discussion with EIR, a spokesman for the Rheine savings bank said that although their case dates back from the Summer of 2004, long before the subprime mortgage blowout and the things that have come since, it is important as a matter of principle, because their view is that savings banks have a mandate to care for the citizens of their city or region, rather than being cows to milk for other, dubious ventures. The spokesman said that even though Rheine seems to stand alone on that point, it wants to fight the issue through legally.

Kosovo Independence Bid: British Ploy to Set Europe Aflame

Jan. 9 (EIRNS)—Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said in an interview with the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, published today, that he believes Kosovo would unilaterally announce its independence in the first half of February. "We cannot drag our feet with independence any longer," he explained. "The U.S. and the EU member-states will immediately recognize our independence. The number of such states is likely to be considerable." Thaci's party won the elections last November.

A senior expert on Kosovo told EIR that the British are controlling everything in this situation, through the secondary level of "advisors." While the U.S. is the most important visible power, there is virtually no law or reform that does not come from London. The expert sees Kosovo, along with Israel/Palestine, as the most probable areas for war and geopolitical confrontation.

Labor Unrest Grows Over Hyperinflation

Jan. 9 (EIRNS)—The Italian government and labor unions had their first meeting of the new year yesterday in negotiations for wage increases. The government presented a general proposal to increase net wages by reducing employees' taxes. The plan would be financed through an increase of taxes on financial revenues (stocks, bonds, derivatives, etc.). The unions are demanding an immediate decision, while the government wants to wait at least until March, when it will be clear how much money is available according to the first quarter revenues. UIL national trade union leader Luigi Angeletti said yesterday, "I do not think we can wait until March."

In Germany, the association of civil servants (Beamtenbund, DBB) concluded its two-day convention in Cologne yesterday evening, with a call for a review of privatizations, which in many cases have led to vital functions of the German state coming under the control of other states' monopolists. Waterway dredging, for example, is now almost entirely under the control of a few Dutch firms. Privatizations have led to a decrease of services and increases of prices, especially in the formerly public infrastructure, the DBB charges. At times of increasing inflation, the citizen should no longer be confronted with rising expenses in what were formerly public services; neither can civil servants be expected to drop demands for salary increases, the DBB states.

Poles Stall on U.S. BMD System; Military Sets Demands

Jan. 9 (EIRNS)—On the day before the start of diplomatic/military negotiations concerning the deployment of ten U.S. ballistic-missile interceptors in Poland, the government continued to make clear that a decision will be made based Poland's own security. While the previous Polish government had welcomed the placement of the missiles, which it specifically said would protect it from Russia, not Iran (as the Bush Administration has claimed), the new government warns that Poland's security will worsen, because it has antagonized Russia, which says it could "mistakenly" end up firing off a missile to intercept Poland's interceptor, and because Poland could then also be a target of many other nations.

Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, who will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Kislyak in Poland Jan. 10, said that Poland will demand a "defense package" from Washington, including Patriot missiles and the U.S. ground-based medium-range anti-missile system, to update its outmoded defense capabilities. "The presence of a U.S. military installation in Poland undoubtedly makes Polish airspace more vulnerable," he stated.

Klich is planning to come to Washington for a three-day visit starting Jan. 14.

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