Western European News Digest
Polish President Sees No Reason To Sign Lisbon Treaty
July 1 (EIRNS)President Lech Kaczynski said in Warsaw June 29, that for him, for now, the question of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty is pointless. Kaczynski said the treaty is blocked, because with Ireland voting "No," the principle of unanimity among the 27 EU member states no longer permits proceeding on the Treaty. The principle of unanimity is binding here, he said, stressing that Poland must protect small EU countries' rights, as it is not a major EU power itself (and does not want to be bullied by the big ones).
German Defender of National Sovereignty Gains Media Visibility
July 3 (EIRNS)On July 1, Prof. Karl-Albrecht Schachtschneider, the legal expert who filed a constitutional complaint in Germany against the Lisbon Treaty, took part in a roundtable discussion on Phoenix television in Germany, on a program entitled "EU in a CrisisCan Europe Still Be Saved?" together with another legal expert, Herbert von Arnim. This is the first time that a major television network has given Schachtschneider the opportunity to present his arguments against the Lisbon Treaty.
Schachtschneider's most devastating critique against the Treaty, is that it confers full powers to the EU Commission and the EU Council of Ministers, to change the Treaty without consent of the national parliaments, thus changing constitutional law per decision of the EU organs. Schachtschneider compares this power, which is embedded in Article 48 of the Treaty, to the 1933 Enabling Legislation (Ermaechtigungsgesetz) that gave dictatorial powers to the Nazi regime.
Military Purge in Spain
July 2 (EIRNS)Spanish Defense Minister Charme Chacon announced the removal of Spain's top military leadership, including Chief of the Defense Staff Gen. Felix Sanz, and the chiefs of the army, navy, and air force. She was advised not to do this by her socialist predecessor, José Antonio Alonso, and the private opinion of Premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Chacon has purged the top military leadership of the country to further plans for more overseas military intervention. This should be seen as part of the Euro-superstate faction to increase the European Union's imperialist military intervention capabilities.
Chacon told the parliament's defense commission on June 30, that she plans to boost military operation abroad "both in peacekeeping missions and in war zones." She wants to lift restrictions on numbers of troops that can be deployed in these operations, now limited to 3,000, and to increase the military from 126,000 to 130,000, in order to raise the military presence of Spain throughout the world.
Knives Are Out Between Sarkozy and French Army
PARIS, July 2 (EIRNS)The conflict between the French Army and the Presidency is now fully out in the open. In an act of rage after a shooting incident during an Army show in southern France, President Nicolas Sarkozy refused to salute Army officers, telling Army Chief of Staff Gen. Bruno Cuche, "You are not professionals, but amateurs." Cuche, who was to retire in August, immediately resigned.
Cuche, who opposed Sarkozy on sending more troops to Afghanistan, is known to have warned the President of the pauperization of the Army last January. Two weeks ago, a group of officers anonymously contested the Army's reform (which will shut down bases and cut 20% of military personnel) in an op-ed published in national press, and hundreds of officers refused to sing the national anthem after Sarkozy's reform speech. The soon-to-come integration of the French Army into NATO's integrated command is also a shift of policy from Gen. Charles de Gaulle's doctrine of national independence, and is not well received among the military.
Several military officers are furious about this "open disregard for the army." One anonymously told journalists, "One cannot call the men who will be fighting in Afghanistan next month, and risking their lives for France, amateurs"; another said, "The whole army supports Cuche"; and a third, "There is distrust between the Presidency and the Army, and it's worsening."
Sarkozy took on this semester's rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, and one of his main objectives is to build up a 60,000-troop intervention corps for out-of-Europe deployment, as a "European pillar for NATO."
France Proposes 'Militarization' of European Space Policy
July 2 (EIRNS)The London Financial Times today reveals that the French have drawn up proposals that encourage the European Union to develop a military element to its space activities, to counter growing security threats, which, in the words of the British paper, emanate from "conventional military powers such as China and Russia as well as terrorism." The proposals have been formulated in a document sent to the EU governments ahead of a meeting later this month in French Guyana, home to the European space launch pad. The Paris-based European Space Agency said it was working on the new strategy.
France would invite others to join the six countriesFrance, Italy, Germany, Greece, Belgium, and Spainthat have already agreed to pool research for a new ground station, called Musis, to handle spy satellite signals.
British Labour Party Election Losses Blamed on Economy
June 27 (EIRNS)The political fortunes of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown are rapidly becoming as bankrupt as the banks in the City of London. In a by-election held on June 25, the Labour Party received another humiliation, in the race for the parliamentary seat vacated by Boris Johnson after the latter was elected Mayor of London. Conservative Party candidate John Howell received 19,796 votes or 56.95%. Labour, which came in fifth, received all of 1,066 votes or 3.07%almost 200 votes less then the neo-fascist British National Party. In the previous elections, Labour, although it did not win, had over 14,000 votes. The Liberal Democrats came in second with 27.85% and the Greens came in third with 3.8%. The collapse of the Labour vote has everything to do with the collapse of the economy, according to the Guardian.
The "real cost of living index," which is the measure of inflation based on prices of real expenses, is up to 10%, with food and fuel going up 23% and 26%, respectively. Brown's government refuses to drop an increase of the gasoline tax this year, and his finance minister demanded that wage increases not go beyond 2%. Some 600,000 local government workers are planning to strike next month.