Western European News Digest
Czech President Has Lisbon Treaty Supporters Over a Barrel
Oct. 15 (EIRNS)The London Guardian today joins the media tantrum over Czech President Vaclav Klaus's refusal to sign the European Union's Lisbon Treaty. It writes that the "climate change denier" sits "isolated in Prague Castle surrounded by yes men," accuses him of being a "womanizer," and quotes a Czech political scientist charging him with acting like an "oriental despot." Nonetheless, the Guardian has to admit that Klaus has been a successful politician, and Treaty supporters still are not sure what else he might spring on them to block it.
Klaus has been on tour promoting his new anti-climate-change book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, which has taken him to Albania and Russia, where he has made statements concerning the seriousness of his position on the Lisbon Treaty, and his commitment not to sign it unless his concerns are addressed. In Russia, according to Radio Praha, he discussed energy issues, including nuclear energy, with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.
Any rush to create a Constitutional crisis on the part of the Lisbon supporters would backfire. First, under Article 63 of the Czech Constitution, it is the President who negotiates treaties. He waived that right during the negotiations on Lisbon, but that does not mean he can't reverse himself. Although he cannot veto a treaty, he does have to sign it, for it to go in effect.
Tremonti Staff Drafts Plan for Banca del Sud
Oct. 13 (EIRNS)Italian Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti's staff has completed a draft for the new Banca del Sud (Bank of the South), whose text has been anticipated by the daily Il Mattino. It will be a government-sponsored agency which, among other things, will issue bonds to finance infrastructure in the Mezzogiorno.
Tremonti and Lega Nord (Northern League) head Umberto Bossi have started a series of town meetings with industrialists in northern Italy. Speaking yesterday in Milan, Tremonti again attacked the banks, saying that in Italy the banking sector is dominated by "two monopolists," which own 30% of the market (Intesa and Unicredit). This is the result of privatizations. "You wanted privatizations? There you have it." Earlier, when the banking sector was almost entirely controlled by the state, things were better, Tremonti said. Those banks were more closely tied to communities.
EU Commission: Kill Elderly To Save Banks
Oct. 16 (EIRNS)The London Financial Times leaked the content of a new European Union Commission-issued a report calling on EU member states to cut "age-related expenditures." The report says that in 12 EU member countries, welfare costs are unbalancing the budget. This is an outright lie, since the budgets have been unbalanced by bank bailouts. Since budget cutting or raising taxes is not easy, "alternatively, the social protection system would have to be reformed to decelerate the projected increase in age-related expenditures," said the report.
The United Kingdom, Spain, and ten other European countries are "at long-term risk," the EU report says. Ten countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Poland, were identified as medium-risk. Five countries are in the low-risk category: Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, and Sweden.
Belgium Reverses Exit from Nuclear Energy
PARIS, Oct. 13 (EIRNS)In 2003, the green-liberal coalition in power in Belgium passed a law to phase out nuclear energy. At that time, seven nuclear reactors furnished over 57% of the country's electricity. Since the Belgian Prime Minister had to present the 2010 budget to the Parliament today, in an unexpected move, the government decided last night to delay the date for "opting out of nuclear power." While the initial date was 2015, the new date is 2025, and three reactors will operate for 50 years instead of 40.
This is presented as a mere financial decision, since the government had to find funds to cope with looming state bankruptcy. Despite massive pressure from the IMF and the EU, Belgium decided not to cut spending on health and social budgets.
Soros Launches Climate Control Initiative in Copenhagen
Oct. 11 (EIRNS)At a meeting in Copenhagen on climate change yesterday, sponsored by Project Syndicate (an international association of 430 newspapers from 150 countries), wartime Nazi collaborator and British agent George Soros announced that he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and create an organization to advise policymakers on environmental policy.
Soros will establish the Climate Policy Initiative, a San Francisco-based organization to which he will donate $10 million a year for ten years. It will be part advisory service, part policy developer, and part watchdog, said Thomas Heller, who is heading the initiative. Heller is a professor at Stanford University Law School, whose expertise is in energy law and regulation and environmental law.
The group will work in the U.S., Europe, China, India, and Brazil, he said.
Tory Calls on Brown To Save BAE
Oct. 12 (EIRNS)The British crown's prized dirty-money operation, BAE Systems, has drawn on its friends in Parliament to save it from prosecution. Conservative Party MP Nigel Evans called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to intervene to close the corruption case against BAE. Evans, whose district hosts several BAE installations, used former Prime Minister Tony Blair's actions as justification: "Tony Blair set a precedent as prime minister by taking personal and active interest in the last investigation, in the national interest," he said. He admitted that, "Over the past 17 years, I have worked very closely with BAE."
Such intervention may not be necessary. The Guardian reports that the Serious Fraud Office is planning a "slimmed-down prosecution dossier" which will cut out the more "complicated" cases that involve Romania and South Africa, and reach into some very high-level political circles in London who were involved in the now-closed Saudi al-Yamamah case.
The strategy seems clear. BAE refused the first offer for a plea bargain on the bigger case, prior to an indictment, saying it will wait for the case to play itself out. Now if the case is "slimmed-down," it can plea bargain on a smaller case and pay a smaller fine.
Cherie Blair Confirms Tony Has Blood on His Hands
Oct. 11 (EIRNS)One day after Tony Blair was confronted by a father whose son who was killed in Iraq, and who charged him with having "blood on his hands," Blair's wife, Cherie, during an appearance at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, admitted that her husband is a liar who persuaded others to launch the invasion of Iraq.
According to the London Telegraph, Mrs. Blair told the audience that, even though the evidence for an invasion was not clear cut, her husband lied that it was: "A lot of the time these choices are not clear cut. They are not black and white. Instead of being 80-20, many of them are actually more like 51-49. When taking those decisions, Tony is able to step back, absorb all the information and then choose. He is also very good at then convincing everybody else that it was a 70-30 decision all along. I think it [the Iraq War] was one of those 51-49 questions."