From Volume 7, Issue 11 of EIR Online, Published Mar. 11, 2008

Western European News Digest

Anti-Lisbon Treaty Ferment Continues

March 9 (EIRNS)—Leaders of the British "I Want a Referendum Campaign" (IWAR), published data March 5, from a poll it conducted last month in ten Labour Party and Liberal Democratic Party marginal districts, showing that 89% of Britain support a referendum on the treaty.

The Austrian initiative Volksabstimmung ("Referendum"), called on politicians, especially those who are also members of labor unions, to reject the Treaty on the same grounds that labor rejected the old EU Constitution text in 2004 (which laid the groundwork then for the rejections in France and the Netherlands): The Treaty is anti-social, and it revokes—important for Austria—military neutrality in favor of a European-wide rearmament drive.

After the majority of the Polish National Parliament on March 7 voted a clause that allows ratification of the Treaty without a referendum, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk stepped forward with a proposal which he said can win skeptics over to the Treaty: namely, nominating Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern for the job of new EU President. (See InDepth.)

Two Social Democratic MPs in Sweden blasted the Treaty proposal in an op-ed in Dagens Nyheter March 3, citing the brawl in Sweden, prompted by a court ruling upholding EU regulations effectively dismantling Swedish trade unions' right to conduct strike actions against low wages paid to foreigners working in Sweden.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams criticized Irish Prime Minister Ahern's pro-Treaty stance, saying that Ireland's influence in the EU would be diluted, and the country's neutrality would be threatened by a "Yes" vote in the referendum.

British Intend Lisbon as 'European Pillar of NATO'

March 4 (EIRNS)—On Feb. 14, The European Voice, a Brussels-based weekly newspaper owned by the London Economist, outlined in great detail how the Lisbon Treaty was planned by the British to structure a "European pillar of NATO" called the G-6. Typical for Perfidious Albion, they are letting the French take the lead.

The lead article, "Sarkozy Plots Defense Force with Big EU States," asserts that "Sarkozy plans to create an elite defense group of the EU's six biggest member states once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force next year." The alliance of France, the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, and Poland would pledge a minimum level of defense spending and promise to improve their military capabilities, as well as work together on military cooperation projects including common defense equipment procurement and forming a 60,000-strong intervention force.

The plan is to launch the group next year, once the Treaty has been ratified, using a provision for "permanent structured co-operation" in defense, which was originally agreed upon in 2004 as part of the EU constitution. Although the constitution was later rejected by referenda in the Netherlands and France, the clause that made this form of co-operation possible was kept in the Lisbon Treaty.

The U.K. will not support the plan publicly until the new treaty comes into force, but an EU official confirmed that the U.K. had pushed for the provision when the constitution was being drafted. The possibility of forming a pioneer defense group had been included in the constitution because "the U.K. and France wanted it in," an EU official said, adding that the U.K. saw the initiative as "a way of leveraging extra [military] capabilities" from some member states.

German Newspaper: Hyperinflation Leads to Fascism

March 5 (EIRNS)—The Wiesbadener Kurier ran a pair of articles yesterday, which together echoed the polemic of the recent LaRouche PAC 80-minute video—that economic collapse leads to fascism. The first, a full-page "theme of the day," "Inflation—The Ghost Is Felt," features a big picture of Albrecht Dürer's "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," with current inflation figures placed on each of the horsemen.

A second article, with the headline "The Dark Decade," recalls the inflation of the 1920s and its sources in the conditions of the Versailles Treaty, which led to the printing of ever more money and the destruction of the middle class; all paving the way for the Nazis to grab power. The political consequences were fatal, since the small and middle class became poor, feeling betrayed by the Republic. "Thus, the monetary policies of the German Reich and the Weimar Republic paved the way for the National Socialists to take power."

Britain Pushing EU To Impose Enron Model on Europe

Feb. 29 (EIRNS)— On Feb. 27, an intense fight occurred at a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels, among a group of eight countries, including France and Germany, which joined efforts to block the EU attempts to impose sweeping deregulation of the energy markets. The EU is demanding the separation of production and distribution of energy, which means that member-states would have to accept the dismantling of their national energy giants—tantamount to suicide. As this power struggle was taking place, Germany's main electricity and gas producer, EON, announced that it had struck a deal with the EU for the sale of its energy grid, angering even neocon Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as the other German energy companies which are all part of the opposition to the EU.

The tactics employed against EON by the EU to get it to compromise, gives a foretaste of the dictatorship the EU will impose if it succeeds in getting the Lisbon treaty ratified.

In spite of that blackmail, and even if their position is relative defensive, the group of eight succeeded in blocking the EU commissioners' offensive, infuriating the City of London mouthpiece, the Financial Times, which accused the EU of "bungling" the energy dereg, and called for "the Commission to stand firm."

Ex-Diplomat: Kosovo May Become Center for the Mafia

March 3 (EIRNS)—A retired U.S. ambassador with experience in the Balkans told EIR yesterday that Kosovo will most likely become a major center for the mafia. "Kosovo is an extremely poor area. There are hardly any industries, any infrastructure. The people have been pushed more and more into becoming brigands, dealing in whatever criminal activity may be available to them," he said. "The U.S. did not have to invest as much capital in this issue as they have done. There was nothing so important to our national interests that we had to give our support to an independent Kosovo. The Kosovars could have had their full autonomy, which would have meant effectively that Serbia no longer held sovereignty over Kosovo, in anything but name. But this was unacceptable to them, and we didn't really push them on the issue," he said. "I know there are a lot of people over at [the] State [Department] that agree with me on this issue, but they don't have any say on the matter."

BAE Systems Once More in the Docket

March 1 (EIRNS)—On March 3, Britain's Information Tribunal will hear an appeal brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which is appealing for the release to the public of memos between the British government and the Saudis, which could reveal bribery concerning BAE Systems' "Al-Yamamah" contract. This will be the second time in two weeks that BAE will face a court action in London. In February, CAAT's lawyer argued at the High Court that BAE had lobbied the government to quash a case before the Serious Fraud Office, because the Saudis were threatening to cancel a £40 billion contract for the Eurofighter jet. That case is awaiting decision.

Among the witnesses for the government will be a Ministry of Defence representative and William Patey, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Vince Cable will testify on behalf of CAAT, and is expected to argue that the memos should be released.

All rights reserved © 2008 EIRNS