From Volume 7, Issue 45 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 4, 2008

Western European News Digest

Moscow, Rome Have Common View on World Reforms

Nov. 1 (EIRNS)—On Nov. 6, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will meet Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow. The day after, at the Brussels summit of the European heads of state and government, Italy will present Russia's proposals for the Nov. 15 G-20 meeting in Washington. Commenting on this in an interview with Il Foglio, Russian Ambassador to Italy Alexei Meshkov said that Russia will propose some clear rules to stop financial speculation and to promote the real economy. Meshkov also stressed that there is a common point of view between Moscow and Rome, about "how the future of Europe and the world should be in the long term." Russia and Italy are working together, and it is relevant that Italy will chair the next G-8 and it is currently a rotating member of UN Security Council.

The Russian ambassador stressed that Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev's key focus in foreign policy is a principle: "No state may endanger the national security of a neighboring state"—and he added that no one alone is able to solve the problems of the world. Meshkov also stated that there is much more in common, than there are differences, between Russia and the United States.

Bergamo, Italy: LaRouche Covered Again

Oct. 31 (EIRNS)—The July-September issue of the quarterly magazine Bergamoeconomica published a lengthy interview with EIR Strategic Alert coeditor Claudio Celani. The interview was conducted last April, following Celani's speech at the Bergamo Confapi (Italian Confederation of Small and Medium Industry) conference. Bergamoeconomica (not to be confused with Bergamoeconomia, which published an interview last April) is the magazine of the Bergamo Chamber of Commerce, and is sent to all its members. The five-page interview is entitled "Without Industries on the Territory, the Economy Is Doomed to Decline," and runs a picture of Celani with Lyndon LaRouche on the first page. Celani is introduced as a "supporter of Lyndon LaRouche's economic theories," and goes through all major issues concerning the crisis and the recovery program.

Europe's Elites Note Wall Street's Role in U.S.

PARIS, Oct. 31 (EIRNS)— France's Le Monde runs a two-page article today, titled "Goldman Sachs, the Company," which inquires into the conflict of interest between U.S. politics and the private empire of New York investment bank Goldman Sachs, something akin to a "Sachs government," since the Goldman Sachs boys are all over government high positions. The article includes a list of over two dozen Sachs-men with positions in either government or top corporations.

Also today, the financial daily Les Echos carries a feature article by its New York correspondent, titled "Why Wall Street Is Betting on Obama." The article starts with the support for Barack Obama by (former U.S. ambassador to France, and former head of Lazard Investment bank) Felix Rohatyn, who argues that the Obama has succeeded in bringing together "a first-class" team of Wall Street insiders on the economics front.

In contrast, on Oct. 28, the financiers of the world's largest financial market spoke through the editorial pages of the Financial Times, endorsing Obama, calling him the "Better Choice."

European Industry, Labor, Call for Government Support

Oct. 27 (EIRNS)—Anger among industrialists and labor unions about the bankers' bailout—with not a single euro in state support assigned for production—is increasing, especially in the auto industry and its suppliers. The fact that Daimler has just announced a five-week production shutdown between mid-November and the year-end, makes it clear that the real economy is already in a deep depression. Orders for new cars are plunging, Renault and Peugeot in France have decreased production 20%, and, in Sweden, Volvo truck sales (throughout Europe) collapsed almost 100% in 12 months. In Germany, the pressure on the government is increasing because of the plan of the EU Commission to abolish the Volkswagen Law, which grants the State a controlling minority share, and bans any private investor from gaining a controlling share. The law also grants the workers the right to have a say in what happens with VW.

Nordic Council Denounce 'Unforgivable Acts' of Britain

STOCKHOLM, Oct. 28 (EIRNS)—A meeting of the Nordic Council in Helsinki, Finland, yesterday was dominated by the Icelandic financial crisis, and was split between those supporting Iceland against the "unforgivable Acts" of Britain and those pushing Iceland into the death grip of the International Monetary Fund and the British.

The leader of Iceland's delegation to the Council, parliamentarian Arni Pssll Arnason, condemned the British government, which seized Icelandic assets using anti-terrorism laws.

In an obvious ploy to push Iceland into the arms of the IMF, the Nordic prime ministers met later the same day and decided to postpone the monetary aid to Iceland, appointing a working group to first study the implementation of the IMF program.

The next day, Oct. 28, the Central Bank of Iceland announced that it had increased its prime rate by 6%, to 18%, as part of the preliminary deal with the IMF. The interest rate hike will go before the IMF executive board for approval in the next few days. The IMF also wants the protective restrictions on the Kron to be removed by the government—a familiar demand.

After Iceland, Will Switzerland Be Next?

Oct. 31 (EIRNS)—A warning that Switzerland could be next on the chopping block, after Iceland, comes from Telepolis, the leftist German website, quoting Richard Portes of the London Business School. Switzerland and Great Britain both have very big financial sectors based on hot air. Portes said that Swiss bank holdings alone are seven times the Swiss GNP, and that "short-term liabilities of the Swiss banks are 13 times the Swiss GNP. This situation is potentially dangerous for Switzerland. Its banking sector is, at present, too big for the Swiss national bank to rescue it." Switzerland is also heavily exposed, via the carry trade, to emerging market loans, which alone are 50% of Swiss GNP.

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