Western European News Digest
France: Mandatory Vaccination Against Flu
May 30 (EIRNS)Le Journal du Dimanche runs a prominent article today called "The Secret Plan Against Influenza A."
On May 29, experts met with the government at the office of French Prime Minister François Fillon to finalize a EU1 billion plan. If the flu strikes, France "will be ready to operate within a very short time span" with an unprecedented war plan. Doctors and nurses would deploy under mandatory state orders. Firms, state administrations, schools, day-care centers would be mobilized. According to Anne Laude, who co-directs the Law and Health Institute at the University of Paris, "no one would have the right, except for medical reasons, to refuse getting such a vaccination. Not accepting it on an individual basis would mean taking the risk of infecting others."
In practice, to defeat the disease, at least 70-75% of the population has to be vaccinated. Before going there, the government could chose key populations indispensable to keep the state functioning. The question now is: How can we convince the population and inform them without provoking utter panic. Between the state health sector, the authorities and the laboratories, "a race against time has started."
French Firm Will Produce H1N1 Vaccine for U.S.
May 25 (EIRNS)Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the French Sanofi-Aventis Group, announced today it has received the first of what is expected to be a series of orders from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to start the production of a vaccine against the new influenza A(H1N1) virus. This order from HHS was issued pursuant to an existing pandemic stockpile contract between Sanofi Pasteur and the U.S. government that allows HHS to purchase vaccines for viruses with pandemic potential.
The HHS $190 million order provides for the production of the bulk vaccine and related activities. The dosage requirements for the new vaccine are yet to be determined and will be based on clinical trials, which could begin as early as August. Final formulation and distribution of the vaccine also have not been established at this time.
Spain Quarantines Two Military Schools
May 25 (EIRNS)Spain decided to quarantine a second military base, fearing an H1N1 influenza outbreak. At the end of last week, 500 students at a military engineering school were quarantined in de Hoyo de Manzanares, in central Spain. So far, 20 people at the school caught the virus, with reportedly mild symptoms and without major complications.
However, another 91 military students, who frequented the school at de Hoyo, were quarantined at their home base at El Ferral, near Leon in northern Spain. The Defense Ministry came under severe criticism for having allowed other students to visit the de Hoyo school after the presence of the H1N1 virus was already suspected. So far, Spain has reported 135 cases, the highest number in Europe.
LaRouche Cited on Weimar Hyperinflation Threat
May 29 (EIRNS)The French financial magazine Capital ran a dossier on the danger of hyperinflation in its latest issue, with the following title and opening sentence: "Must We Fear Hyperinflation? Certain economists believe that the massive injection of liquidity by the central banks could lead to a rise in prices at the moment the upswing comes. We are not yet there though...."
The article leads with a kind of joke, saying that while the producers of protective face masks have begun mass production due to the danger of the H1N1 influenza, producers of wheelbarrows to carry around the currency needed to buy products priced at hyperinflationary levels, are not yet doing the same. "Will we be forced to do our shopping with such a cart, as in Germany in 1923where 250 grams of sausage was worth 4,200 billion marks? Or to see prices double twice a month, as recently in Zimbabwe? The ultra-neoliberal American Rep. Ron Paul and the iconoclast economist Lyndon LaRoucheboth very much listened too in the United Statesare persuaded this is the case. And they are already working up their biceps...." The rest of the article is an assessment of that possibility.
Chaos Reigns in British Politics
May 27 (EIRNS)Over 100 British Members of Parliamentalmost one-sixthcould be forced to stand down at the next election, due to the ever-expanding expenses scandal, said Paul Kenny, general secretary of the British General Union (GMB), today on BBC. A growing number of MPs exposed by the Daily Telegraph have already said they will not contest the next national elections, as the leaders of all three major parties trip over each other to call for constitutional reform in the U.K.
As to the Queen, she has a strong interest in preserving the British constitution, because that is what gives her power, the source said. What the Queen had done, such as calling Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the carpet for not ousting the Speaker earlier, is right in line with popular opinionshe was forcing the government to do what the population wants it to do.
Zepp-LaRouche Told You: Hartz IV Is Sinking German Economy!
PARIS, May 30 (EIRNS)Yesterday's French daily l'Humanité underlines the economic consequences of Germany's Hartz IV "social welfare reform" adopted in 2004. The measures, supposed to whip the long-term unemployed into active job seeking, cut unemployment subsidies after 12 months. The unemployed can then get EU351 per month in welfare disbursements, but only if the recipient accepts "any job offered at any rate." From there, the infamous "EU1 jobs"jobs at EU1/hourare being offered "to complete" their income!
On May 18, a study was published by the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband on how the German "Proletariat" became the German "Prekariat." The study considers as "poor," those whose monthly income is less than 60% of the German national average income needed to survive, which means less than EU764 per month. Today, one German out of seven is below this poverty line. The eastern German states are, of course, worse off, with a 24.5% poverty rate in Mecklenburg, and 17.5% in Berlin! Poverty in Bremen in the North is at 19.1%, and the Saarland at 16.8%, while even the supposedly better-off states like Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg have poverty rates over 10%.
Germany's main income in the last decade came from exports to Asia and wage deflation at home. With the collapse of exports, industry is trying to reorient towards the domestic market. But the poor have far too little to drive a consumption upswing. Therefore, Germany's economy is taking the double blow from both falling exports as well as falling consumption.
EU Farm Milk Diktat: Farmers Are Overproducing
PARIS, May 26 (EIRNS)Facing a 30% drop in prices for their production, 12,000 French dairy farmers started their action week today by blocking 81 milk-processing factories all over the country, while the French government called for all parties involved to return to negotiations the government itself scrapped earlier.
Some 900 dairy farmers from Germany, Belgium, and France demonstrated in Brussels, while farm tractors blocked major roads in the city's European quarter, where the 27 EU farm ministers met to discuss a French-German rescue plan. The plan, backed by Austria, which demands an increase in subsidies and other measures to end the crisis, was rejected. Opposing the plan, at least five EU members called for an immediate moratorium in annual milk quotas. Quotas were introduced in 1984 to tackle the then notorious butter mountains and milk lakes created by so-called over-production. However, the quota system guaranteed a parity price for every liter of milk produced, within quota, which allowed farmers to invest in the industry. Last November, the EU decided to lift quotas by 1% per year, and then scrap them altogether in 2014-15.
In a move to calm down dairy farmers facing immediate bankruptcy, the EU merely agreed on paying out in advance, as early as October 2009, farm subsidies due for 2010.