Western European News Digest
Italian Senate To Debate New Bretton Woods
Feb. 19 (EIRNS)The debate in the Italian Senate on the various drafts of a New Bretton Woods system is scheduled for Feb. 24. A vote is expected after the debate, which (if nothing changes), should be concluded by evening. Italian LaRouche associates are making sure that LaRouche is at the center of the debate.
Germany, Inc. Falls Apart
Feb. 18 (EIRNS)The post-war industrial system of Germany, characterized by many globally renowned firms, is collapsing rapidly. In recent weeks, several of the once leading firms have already gone under, or have filed for bankruptcy: Schiesser (high-quality underwear); Märklin (toys and model trains); Edscha (auto-parts); and Continental Tires, taken over by the auto-parts supplier Schaeffler Group, which is itself in deep trouble. Car-maker Opel's fate is up in the air, depending on what happens with GM. The former Merckle empire will be carved up, with Heidelberg Cement being the first big firm to go.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, head of the BüSo party, said that after World War II, Germany was not supposed to become a nation again, and so, instead, it became an economic corporate entity, a "Wirtschafts AG." This is now falling apart. She blasted the so-called elites as irresponsible bunglers, whose incompetence leads to criminal effects.
Soros 'Eurobond Market' Scheme Targets Germany
Feb. 19 (EIRNS)British agent George Soros is floating another scheme to rob state coffers while taking aim against German resistance to these schemes. Writing in today's Financial Times, he calls for the creation of a Eurozone government bond market to cover the financial collapse of Eastern Europe. This Eurobond market would be separate from the current individual state bond markets, but a closer look reveals it to be just another operation aimed at Germany and taking even more power from individual states.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is preparing for a major intervention into the G20 summit, with plans for reforming the IMF, cracking down on tax havens, and creating a G20 secretariat. Sources report that these plans have been pulled together in a formal proposal which will be presented to the G20 countries. This is aimed at countering any meaningful discussion of LaRouche's New Bretton Woods proposal, as could be presented by Italian Economic-Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti.
Another Obituary for Brown's Government
Feb. 21 (EIRNS)The bickering that apparently dominates the top of Britain's Labour Party provides the theme for yet another obituary, this one appearing in Rupert Murdoch's London Times, for Gordon Brown's government. Political columnist Matthew Paris declares, "There is hardly a Labour government now and by next summer there won't be one at all." Paris forecasts that it could be decades before the party amounts to anything at all, again. "Labour is out of time, out of space, out of ideas and shortly to be out of office.
"Meanwhile, the country is sailing into an economic tempest of unknown ferocity and indefinite duration; we are close to the rocks and there is another crew preparing to take over," writes Paris. The only problem, he says, is that nobody really know who the new crew, that is, the Tories, really are.
Sarkozy Announces Emergency Measures To Quell Riots
PARIS, Feb. 18 (EIRNS)The already-tense situation in the French Overseas Department of Guadeloupe was heightened by the murder last night of 50-year-old trade unionist Jacques Bino, as he was returning from a meeting of the Collective Against Outrageous Exploitation (LKP) which has successfully led a month-long general strike and peaceful demonstrations against declining living standards. Guadeloupe is a French department in the Caribbean.
There was sporadic violence throughout Guadeloupe that night, with looting and arson of stores and cars, but the situation could quickly degenerate.
On Feb. 13, after meeting for more than two hours with elected officials of the French Overseas Departments, including those from Guadeloupe, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the emergency measures to calm the situation. However, before the meeting, Prime Minister François Fillon announced that the wage increases the unions had asked for were not on the agenda, because they "are incompatible with the other demands, i.e., to fight unemployment"!
All Paris had to give by way of aid was tax breaks, handouts, and tricks in the science of bookkeeping. Of the EU580 million announced, EU280 million will go to a subsidy aimed at inducing people on welfare to accept low-paying jobs.
Greece Facing New Mass Strike, Terrorism Threat
PARIS, Feb. 19 (EIRNS)Over the last 24 hours, violence sparked again in Athens. On the night of Feb. 17, four hooded individuals fired a dozen shots against the building of the private TV station Alter; no one was hurt. The following morning, police deactivated an explosive found in a car parked in front of a subsidiary of Citibank. Giannis Panousis, a crime expert often covered in the media, was attacked by 15 hooded individuals, forcing the shutdown of his conference in the center of Athens.
Greek police are investigating a new terrorist group that emerged after the riots last December. The group is an offshoot of Revolutionary Combat (EA), a group that followed the original Nov. 17 terrorist operation of the 1970s. In their last letter to the center-left paper Ta Nea, members of the new group said they don't want to engage in politics, only guerrilla operations. The new terror wave occurs while demonstrations of doctors, transport workers, and farmers are occurring against the breakdown of the Greek economy. These groups will join in a general strike planned for Feb. 25.
German Minister on 'Surprise Visit' to Iraq
Feb. 18 (EIRNS)Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is touring Iraq, in the first such visit by a German foreign minister since 1987. The visit, which was not announced to the press, is designed to show German support for the policy of the new U.S. Administration, Steinmeier said in Baghdad yesterday. Steinmeier is accompanied by representatives of German firms, such as Siemens. A main focus is to revive deals for rebuilding the country's infrastructure, which German firms had already tried during the Bush/Cheney regime, but their approach was sabotaged. Now, there will soon be German economic offices in Baghdad and Erbil.
After Steinmeier and his delegation, which also includes Bundestag members Otto Schily (SPD) and Peter Gauweiler (CSU), visited Baghdad, they were accompanied by Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Sebari to tour the Kurdish areas in the north. Reconstruction is the main discussion topic there, where a German consulate is planned to open soon.