Western European News Digest
EU Commission Moves To Seize More Power
May 7 (EIRNS)The European Union Commission will adopt a series of proposals intended to increase its own power over the economic policies of EU member countries, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported today. The proposals would give the Commission power to extend early warnings and eventually start procedures against governments that do not comply with "structural reforms" and "competitive" policies. This is consistent with the abolition of national sovereignty envisioned by the not-yet-ratified Lisbon Treaty.
So far, the Commission can start procedures only in the case of what the EU's Maastricht Treaty of 1992 defines as an excessive budget deficit (over 3% of GDP). According to the new proposals, procedures can be applied when the cost of labor rises too much, when productivity is not stimulated, or when measures are not applied to guarantee competitiveness of companies. The document which is to be adopted, drafted by Economic Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, establishes that when policies "are not coherent with the EU general directions or threaten to compromise the good functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union, the Commission can issue a warning against the member state."
If approved by the EU Council of Ministers and by the European Parliament, the proposed reform will become law.
Panic on Irish Lisbon Treaty Referendum
PARIS, May 8 (EIRNS)Panic is growing among Euro-fascists over the possibility that the Irish people will vote "No" in the June 12 referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, blocking its going into effect continent-wide. On May 6, the nation's largest craft union, the 45,000-member Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU), became the second in the country (after UNITE trades workers, which announced opposition last month) to recommend a "No" vote.
On May 6, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern resigned and left his post to the current Finance Minister Brian Cowen, who is in charge of rallying the country for a "Yes" vote. Of the 166 Irish Members of Parliament, only the four Sinn Fein MPs oppose the Treaty. But recent polls revealed that the "Yes" vote had fallen to 35%, losing 8 points compared to two months ago. Only 31% of those asked are certain they will vote against the treaty, while 34% remain undecided.
German Supreme Court Ruling Clashes with Lisbon Treaty
May 8 (EIRNS)Germany's Supreme Court yesterday issued a ruling on parliamentary consultation prior to military deployment, which exposes the contradictions between Germany's Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty, which is highly relevant to three legal cases challenging the Treaty, which will be filed with the court at the end of May.
The new ruling also exposes the extreme fragility of supposed all-party "harmony" on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty:
First, because the same Free Democratic Party (FDP) that brought the original case, just voted with the present government for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty;
Second, because the judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the established political parties, and those judges have just ruled against the violation of Germany's sovereignty, which their parties are endorsing in the Treaty; and
Third, because the leading NeoCon Christian Democrat, Wolfgang Schaeuble, publicly deplored the court's ruling, saying that if three readings of military decisions by the national parliaments were required before deciding on military deployments, one might as well forget about the creation of a European Army, as envisaged by the Lisbon Treaty.
BAE Shareholders Call Chairman 'Orwellian'
May 8 (EIRNS)Dick Olver, chairman of the British defense firm BAE Systems, was accused by shareholders of being "Orwellian," when he claimed that the criminal investigations against the company were doomed to failure, and that following its paid-for "ethics review" released by Lord Woolfe, the company would become a "leaders in ethics and corporate responsibility."
Yesterday, Olver told the BBC that the Serious Fraud Office investigation of BAE "should be abandoned ... because it is doomed to failure." He claimed the courts had already considered BAE's secret payments to Saudi Arabia. "As far as they could tell there was indeed no evidence to say that this was anything other than a legal commission."
Later in the day, at the annual BAE shareholders meeting, investors lined up to attack Olver and BAE's claim that it was reforming itself. "If there was no case to answer, why did you go to such lengths to stop the inquiry?" asked one shareholder. Another said it was "Orwellian" for the company to suggest that it could become a leader in ethics and corporate responsibility, in the face of all the allegations of bribery. The angry shareholder, castigating Olver and the board, said, "If there was any justice in the world, all of you up there would be facing criminal charges."
France Creates International Nuclear Company
PARIS, May 8 (EIRNS)Resistance by the French institutions to industrial dismantling continues to be expressed in the Sarkozy government, in spite of all its shortcomings. On May 7, Environment Minister Jean Louis Borloo presented the government a decree authorizing the creation of an agency called France Nuclear International. Government spokesman Luc Chatel reminded the press that last September, during the UN climate change conference, President Nicolas Sarkozy had proposed French aid to all countries wanting to develop civilian nuclear power. The role of the new agency will be to "provide French expertise to all foreign countries wanting to develop civilian nuclear power and to help them prepare the launching of civilian nuclear power in their countries."
Over the last year, France has signed major peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements with Libya, Morocco, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, and with Tunisia.
London's New Mayor Campaigned Against 'Congestion Tax'
May 3 (EIRNS)London's new Mayor, Boris Johnson (Conservative Party) campaigned against the proposed increase in the "congestion tax," which is part of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fascist plans for the world's cities. Outgoing Labour Party Mayor Ken Livingstone had promoted the idea of raising the congestion tax for drivers entering downtown London, from the current £8, to an outrageous £25 pounds ($50).
The new mayor got a visit from Bloomberg, whose own push for a "congestion tax" went down in flames the week before. Bloomberg also made a stop in Ireland.
Italy's Giovanni Bianchi: Learn from the LaRouches
May 5 (EIRNS)Former Italian Member of Parliament Giovanni Bianchi, who is currently provincial leader of the Democratic Party in Milan, wrote a comment on the party's electoral defeat, in the party daily Europa on May 3. In analyzing the large vote increase for the populist-regional Lega Nord, Bianchi writes that the Lega was able to interpret "people's fear of globalization, where the financialization of the economy and of everyday life, and 'marketism' as exposed in [Giulio] Tremonti's latest book, draw a scenario that demands better policies. The nation has found its identity again, and the state, despite its roots going back to the 17th century, still is the most viable instrument to implement policies, especially if compared with other international vehicles. This is a position that Lindon [sic] LaRouche and his wife have pushed for 15 years."
In 2002 Bianchi, in a debate on the Argentine crisis in the Chamber of Deputies, called for listening to LaRouche's "prophetic" words.