From Volume 37, Issue 20 of EIR Online, Published May 21, 2010

Western European News Digest

German Banker Calls for Glass-Steagall

May 13 (EIRNS)—Dieter Brand, director of the Sparkasse Bielefeld savings bank in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, called for legislation to drive back the influence of the speculative banks. "We have been taken hostage by these international mega-institutions, which operate with enormous sums, and that is why they must be shrunk, and if need be, taken apart by force," he said.

A similar approach was taken in the Great Depression of the 1930s in the U.S.A. with the Glass-Steagall Act, Brand said. Major speculative banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley today simply cannot be controlled from the outside, not even by their own management, Brand added, and these mega-banks played a leading role in the recent speculative attacks on the euro.

The BüSo party, led by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, ran 34 candidates in the recent North Rhein-Westphalia legislative election campaign, in which the call for a global Glass-Steagall was a prominent feature.

British Unions Warn of Greek-Style Protests

May 10 (EIRNS)—British trade unions, especially in the public sector, are warning that they will fight any new government attempts to slash jobs, salaries, services, and pensions. The Daily Mail warns that Great Britain faces "Greek-style riots" as the next government will implement brutal cuts, to bail out the City of London.

The most outspoken of these leaders is Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, who said: "When the British people realize just how seriously they have been misled by the political elite over the attacks on living standards and public services that have been kept under wraps, it will unleash a tidal wave of strikes and public protests that will mirror the growing resistance on the streets of Athens."

Mass-Strike Process: Belgians Rally for Unity

May 14 (EIRNS)—With federal elections scheduled to be held in Belgium on June 13, which are expected to increase the tensions created by a handful of demagogic politicians around the Flemish-Walloon language conflict, an angry Belgian population is increasingly eager to express its rejection of the "political class."

Marie-Claire Houard, a former postal employee from Liege, whose call three years ago brought 34,000 Belgians into the streets in a demonstration for Belgian unity, called last week for another demonstration, on May 16, and a peaceful march through the center of Brussels.

Secret Central Bankers' Huddle in Zürich

May 11 (EIRNS)—Central bankers, market financiers, and other officials on today began an all-day, closed-door meeting in Zürich, Switzerland, on the global financial system. "The conference aims to advance the reflection on the functioning of the international monetary system and to engage policymakers in an informed dialogue about what reforms might be desirable over the medium to long run," said the program for the event, co-sponsored by the International Monetary Fund and the Swiss National Bank. Bankerspeak for "It's time to push the panic button"?

Municipal Deficits Deepen in Germany

May 14 (EIRNS)—Frankfurt Mayor and chairwoman of the municipal association of Germany, Petra Roth, sounded the alarm today, when presenting corrected forecasts of what the deficit of cities will be, at the end of this year. Originally expected to be EU12 billion, it now appears that it will rise to EU15 billion, if not even more; the figure of EU12 billion was already the worst in German postwar history. Roth blamed the national government's budget-cutting for at least half of the deficit, since Berlin took tax revenues away from the cities, by decreeing tax breaks for enterprises and cutting state subsidies for the cities at the same time.

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