Western European News Digest
Italian Magazine Pushes LaRouche Solutions
June 12 (EIRNS)The monthly magazine Bergamoeconomia, published in the northern industrial city of Bergamo, Italy, dedicated its May 2008 issue to LaRouche's New Bretton Woods policy. The glossy cover ran a picture of LaRouche representative Claudio Celani, who was the guest at a conference in Bergamo April 10, organized by the local small industrialists association, Apindustria, under the headline, "A New Bretton Woods for an economic upswing," and a caption: "Economist Claudio Cesani [sic], 30 years with Lyndon LaRouche in the fight against Marketism, guest of the young industrialists of Apindustria Bergamo." Celani is identified as deputy chairman of the Movimento Solidarietà.
Although not a large city, Bergamo is at the center of a highly industrialized region in Lombardy, the most productive in Europe; the GDP of the province of Bergamo is equal to that of some European nations. Bergamoeconomia online is at: www.ilnuovogiornaledibergamo.it/Inserti/bgeconomia9.pdf.
European Union: Let Them Eat Biofuels
June 12 (EIRNS)Truckers' strikes and protest actions against escalating diesel and fuel prices are spreading throughout Europe, causing fuel and food shortages. The hard line that the governments and the European Union are taking against the strikers, suggests that the crisis is being used to further the European Union fascist dictatorship, to force implementation of a genocidal energy policy. Both the national governments and the European Commission have been protecting the British-Rotterdam spot market and all other forms of speculation, while calling for an increase in biofuels and implementation of more neoliberal restructuring policies.
In Spain, 70,000 truckers, more than 20% of the industry workforce, mostly independent operators, continue their strike and road blockages, with the government taking deploying 25,000 police to break them up. Gas stations all over Spain are running out of gas, while fresh meat, vegetables, and fruits are disappearing from market shelves. Car manufacturers SEAT, Nissan, and Mercedes have suspended production for lack of parts.
The government has offered nothing, refusing to lower taxes on diesel, and "opposing guaranteed rates, saying it would be against EU free-market principles," according to the London Guardian.
In Portugal, Lisbon Airport has run out of aviation fuel, with only military and emergency aircraft being fueled.
There is fear in the capitals of Italy, France, and Britain that the strikes could spread. Italian truckers are planing a five-day strike at the end of the month. The British government is drafting contingency plans for July 2, when British truckers target London for a mass protest. There were reports of cars lining up at gas stations as it was announced that truck drivers from Shell are planning a four-day walkout. In Poland, 50,000 truckers staged one-hour protests.
EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso, in a statement, declared that high prices are here to stay, "At the heart of our approach is the full implementation of the Commission's energy and climate change proposals including increased energy diversification, security of energy efficiency...."
Gasoline in Spain costs the equivalent of $4.55 a gallon; in the Netherlands, it is $6.48/gallon.
Attempt To Counter Italy's Guarino on Lisbon Treaty
June 10 (EIRNS)According to media reports, the Italian government is using sophistical tricks to dismiss the growing impact of Prof. Giuseppe Guarino's challenge to the Lisbon Treaty. Guarino, the dean of Italian constitutionalists, has written a book which has spurred a debate even before its publication, in which he calls for not ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, because it would surrender national sovereignty to a supranational "organocracy." Sources in the Italian government, according to an article in the financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, have dismissed Guarino's charges on the grounds that "charges of unconstitutionality have been rejected both by the European Court of Justice and by the German Constitutional Court."
These are outright lies. First, the European Court of Justice can only judge on conflicts between national laws and EU laws, but has nothing to say on national constitutional laws. And the German Constitutional Court has not issued any pronouncement on the Treaty, although at least three challenges are being examined.
(See InDepth for Helga Zepp-LaRouche's strategic analysis of the results of the historic Irish "No" vote on the Lisbon Treaty.)
Merkel Pushes 'Anti-Protectionist' Financial System
June 11 (EIRNS)German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed to replace the "Anglo-Saxon" system of financial markets with a European rating agency, in an interview with the Financial Times. Merkel's scheme comes one day after former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, one of the fathers of the Lisbon Treaty, pushed an anti-American, Euro-synarchist model of a world monetary system. In both Giscard's and Merkel's scheme, the central role is played by the "independent" European Central Bank, and no "protectionist" policies are allowed.
According to the Financial Times, Merkel "refused to endorse remarks by German President Horst Köhler, that international financial markets were a 'monster,'" but "exercised easy criticism against the securitization industry." Merkel also "indirectly criticized Josef Ackermann, the Deutsche Bank chief executive, who said he no longer believed in the 'self-healing force of the market.' She warned that the backlash against the banks must not be hijacked by opponents of free trade: "We should not give protectionism an open flank."
"The chancellor praised the euro as having allowed the economy of the EU to partially decouple from the US, at least in the industrial goods area, if not in financial markets, and reaffirmed her support for the independence of the European Central Bank. 'If we decide to subject the actions of the ECB to political contingencies, there will always be one or several countries with good grounds to influence the ECB. I say beware: we need crystal-clear principles or we will shake confidence in the euro,' " the daily reported.
EU-U.S. Summit Joint Declaration on Iran, Kosovo
June 11 (EIRNS)The declaration at the conclusion of the European Union-U.S. summit, held June 10 in Slovenia, dealt with the Iran nuclear program and Kosovo, among other things.
The section on Kosovo does not mention independence, but says, "We will continue to support the stability and security of Kosovo and its regional integration, and will assist Kosovo in its economic and institutional development. We note that the Kosovo authorities are committed to the objective of a stable, democratic and multi-ethnic society. We commend NATO's contributions to Kosovo, as well as those of the OSCE. We will cooperate on completing a smooth transition from UNMIK to EULEX responsibility for the rule of law and its full deployment throughout all of Kosovo, which is essential for the stability of Kosovo. The EU welcomes U.S. participation in the EULEX mission."
Hyperinflation Hits Manufacturers in Great Britain
June 10 (EIRNS)The London Guardian reports today that while costs for fuel and raw materials in Britain had decreased between 1986 and 2004 by 2%, they rose 24% between January 2004 and January 2007. But since the beginning of this year, they have risen 33%. In the last 16 months, they have risen more than they have the last 21 years. This has pushed up prices of the goods produced by 8.9%.
Consumers could be hit by energy price hikes of as much as 38%, even more brutal then the 15-20% increase already imposed. All of this, the Guardian writes, points to an interest rate increase by the Bank of England.