Western European News Digest
Danish Schiller Institute Testifies to Parliament
COPENHAGEN, May 28 (EIRNS)Tom Gillesberg, chairman of the Schiller Institute in Denmark, joined by a delegation of five from the Schiller Institute and LaRouche Youth Movement, today brought the Institute's international campaign on the food crisis to the Danish Parliament's Agriculture Committee, and called on it to put the campaign to double food production on the agenda of the Rome FAO conference (June 3-5). There were at least nine MPs present, including representatives from all but one of the seven parliamentary parties.
In his 15-minute testimony, Gillesberg attacked the environmentalist policies of the leftists, and the free-trade policies of the rightists. Gillesberg's speech was similar to his May 22 testimony in the Foreign Policy Committee, but with a sharper attack against financial speculation, an attack against Prince Philip's genocide policy, and a call for shutting down the World Trade Organization (WTO), not just changing its policies.
Attac Blasts Lisbon Treaty, Calls for 'New Bretton Woods'
May 29 (EIRNS)In a statement issued May 19, the anti-globalist organization Attac charges that the global financial crisis has "systemic roots"; denounces the Lisbon Treaty which would allow "the complete takeover of society by finance"; and calls for establishing "a new Bretton Woods" monetary system. The document, which picks up many of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche's ideas on the crisis and its solutionalthough without ever mentioning them by namewas described by Helga Zepp-LaRouche today as being very useful.
Entitled, "The time has come for a democratic control of the financial markets," the Attac document emphasizes the systemic nature of the crisis: "The crisis is not the result of an unfortunate circumstantial context and it cannot be reduced either to the failure of controls, rating agencies, or the bad conduct of isolated actors. It has systemic roots and therefore the structure and mechanisms of the system in general are called into question."
It goes on to propose: "Systemic changes rather than fragmentary repair; "a new Bretton Woods instead of so-called self-regulating market forces; and "special attention" to the "financial dimensions" of treaties, "especially that of Lisbon." Attac also calls for banning hedge funds, limiting securitization strictly to governments, and overall taxation of capital.
British Government Rejects Truckers' Demands
May 28 (EIRNS)The government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown has refused to accept the demands of British truckers for a 25 pence rebate per liter of fuel, to offset high prices. The truckers had staged a protest by sending a convoy of hundreds of trucks into central London yesterday and delivered a letter to the Prime Minister.
There is, at best, a "hint of retreat," according to the Guardian, which reports that the government might consider withdrawing a proposed two-pence tax increase on fuel, which in no way answers the truckers' demands. On top of this, in a Guardian commentary, Brown calls for a "global solution" for the increase in oil prices, arguing that there is an oil shortage because of "higher demand," and blaming the Chinese, who, he reports, by 2020 will have 140 million cars.
Airbus Downsizing Threatens Franco-German Relations
PARIS, May 26 (EIRNS)The rise of the euro against the dollar has compelled European aircraft producer EADS, the parent company of Airbus, to outsource production to countries "belonging to the dollar zone," notably Mexico. Airbus will also produce parts for the Pentagon, in Alabama.
But overall downsizing is the word, and the management announced its "Power-8" plan for cutting back more than 9,000 jobs in order to remain "competitive" as a "world player."
Since EADS remains a European multi-partner company (France, Germany, Spain, and U.K.), tensions have emerged between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, over whether job losses will hit mainly France or Germany. Today, the media are leaking confidential documents which will only exacerbate tensions.
Of course, the criminal pro-Lisbon Treaty policies of Sarkozy and Merkelnot opposing the financial sharks destroying the aircraft industryhave led to this logic of self-cannibalization. The British devils orchestrating the media leaks on both sides of the Rhine are happy to whip up the old demons again. Already, in Toulouse, the management had to repeatedly clean up anti-German graffiti with swastikas and slogans that appeared on the walls of the Airbus assembly lines. And French workers were thrown out of the Hamburg production site by German workers, in Toulouse, where 2,500 German employees work; the threat of physical clashes is rising daily.
Crisis Causes Another Labour Electoral Debacle in Britain
May 23 (EIRNS)British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party continued its meltdown, losing a "safe" Parliament seat to the Tories in today's by-election in Crewe and Nantwich. A full 17.6% shift of the vote from the last general election in 2005, gave Tory candidate Edward Timpson a 7,860-vote advantage. The Labour candidate had taken the seat with over 7,000 votes in 2005. The turnout, at 58.2% was high for a by-election, just short of the 60% in the general election. This is the first time the Tories have won a by-election in 26 years.
Labour lost despite the last-minute efforts of Brown's government to grant £2.7 billion worth of tax rebates to the low-income people who had been hit hard by the government's elimination of the 10% tax bracket, which allowed many low-income working people to pay lower taxes. Brown's government claimed it had "overlooked" this problem, when the tax change was carried out, when Brown was still Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasury Minister). Brown had attempted a "re-launch" of his premiership after the debacle of the local elections May 1. He has not succeeded.
Direct German-China Rail Link Nears Completion
May 27 (EIRNS)The direct Germany-China Eurasian rail may begin regular operation as early as three months from now, according to Deutsche Bahn and the China United International Railway Container Transport (CUIRC), Die Welt reports. The rail route was first tested in January, and the special container train pulled by different engines in different nations along the way made the 9,800-km trip from Beijing to Hamburg in a record time of 15 days. Deutsche Bahn spokesman Gelfo Kroeger said today that DB aims "to have a regular freight service this year, and if it can be achieved sooner, so much the better." DB has an 8% stake in CUIRC, which is planning to build 18 rail freight terminals in China. Ultimately, the trip should just take ten days, DB chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn said in January.
The service is confined to freight, not passengers.
Middle Class Holocaust in Italy: It's the Euro, Stupid!
May 29 (EIRNS)Official statistics published today show that the introduction of the euro has decimated Italy's middle class.
In 2000, the average income of Italian families was 4% above the European average. In 2008, it is 9% below the European average, which itself has decreased. It is reported that over 50% of Italian families earn an income below Eu1,900.
Completely disregarding this disaster, European Central Bank führer Jean Claude Trichet stated in an interview with the Italian media, that the introduction of the euro was a success for Italy, especially because "jobs increased!"
The fact that new jobs pay a fraction of what they used to, is apparently irrelevant to the European bureaucracy.