Western European News Digest
Glass-Steagall Resolution Presented in Italy
ROME, June 24 (EIRNS)The Hon. Catia Polidori has presented a resolution calling for a policy based on the former U.S. Glass-Steagall Law; the resolution has already been signed by 24 other Parliamentarians in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Polidori is a member of the majority Freedom People (Pdl) party, and former national chairwoman of the Confederation of Small Enterprises (Confapi). The resolution, which is similar to that presented in the Senate by Oskar Peterlini last week, has been covered by several news agencies, such as AGI and Radiocor; the latter is run by the country's main financial daily, Il Sole 24 Ore. The document requests that the government "act in all international venues to promote multilateral agreements which establish a return to such a separation of commercial banks and investment banks, thus favoring a climate for long-term investment in the real economy."
Discussions are underway among other lawmakers to reach an agreement for a joint document, with the support of some leading members of the Parliamentary majority.
Endorsements of Glass-Steagall in German Press
June 25 (EIRNS)The Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany's second-largest news daily, with a nationwide circulation, today endorsed Glass-Steagall; Germany's major weekly Der Spiegel had also done so earlier this week. This occurs two weeks after the Frankfurt EIR seminar for a reinstitution of the Glass-Steagall Act, featuring Lyndon LaRouche as the keynote speaker.
Belgian Flemish Separatists Advance Regionalism
PARIS, June 25 (EIRNS)The June 13 election victory of the Belgian Flemish separatist party, a creation of the Inter-Alpha Group banking cartel, has opened the Pandora's box for the break-up of not only Belgium, but many other EU member-states. As such, it is a laboratory experiment of the new EU social engineering program.
Observers note that Bart de Wever's New-Flemish Alliance party (N-VA) should be called the "New-European Alliance," since his program has nothing in it that's "nationalist" at all, but represents complete submission to the EU empire, i.e., Ayn Rand-style "less government"; Dick Cheney-style "security" in cities; lower taxes; charter flights to deport illegal immigrants to their home countries; and most prominently: "saving" the banks by cutting EU22 billion in social budgets, deconstructing social security and health care for the poor and unemployed, who, de Wever charges, are too lazy to work.
Nearly 2 Million Demonstrate in France
PARIS, June 26 (EIRNS)Some 1.9 million people participated in a day of action, organized by the main trade unions in France, against the reform of the pension system being organized by the government, to pay for the bailout of the banks. Employees from both the public and the private sector participated in large numbers, in demos demanding that the government reverse its decision to extend the retirement age by two years, from 60 to 62.
The SNCF, the public railway company, reported that the percentage of railway workers on strike reached 39.5%; the CGT union federation said it was 46%. Either way, this is up some 20 points from the numbers which had participated in a warm-up day of action, on May 27. Members and sympathizers of Solidarité et Progrès, the party of the LaRouche movement in France, were present at the demonstrations in Lyon, Grenoble, Rennes, Brest, St. Brieuc, and Paris, and distributed some 16,000 leaflets.
Tory Budget Plans Killer Austerity
June 22 (EIRNS)UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (treasury secretary) George Osborne announced the budget for the Cameron government today, taking pride in the devastation the Tories intend to impose on the British people. As EIR noted before the recent election, whoever took over would face the reality that the U.K. is the most bankrupt of the many bankrupt European economies, even using official figures.
The Tory solution? Cut wages, jobs, and social services to the bone. Every department other than certain "protected" ones will have to cut their budgets by 25% over the next four years. Public-sector workers will have a two-year wage freeze, and a freeze on children's benefits for three years. Pensions will not be paid until age 66, rather than 65.
Corporate taxes, however, will be cut, not raised, to 27% immediately (from 28%), and to 24% over the next three years. The Labour Government had already cut the rate from 33% to 28% since 1997.
German Cabinet Okays Expanded Short Sales Ban
June 24 (EIRNS)Germany's move to ban naked short selling, aims to speed up a similar move on a European level, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said yesterday, after the Cabinet approved a bill banning "naked" short selling of all stocks and euro currency derivatives not intended for hedging against currency risks. Already, the ban on select bonds and assets, decreed by the German government on May 19, caused consternation among financial speculators, in London especially.
With the European Commission expected to present its plan on naked short selling in October, Germany decided "to go ahead ... in a move to accelerate the European approach," Schäuble said. The ban is "a necessary and right consequence resulting from our experience over the past years," he said. Germany also supports a French initiative to weaken the influence of existing ratings agencies, Schäuble said.
Italian Court Backs Government Nuclear Program
June 24 (EIRNS)The Italian constitutional court yesterday rejected a challenge filed by nine regional governments against the bill establishing regulations for the construction of nuclear plants. The challenge concerned, in particular, the central government's power to decide sites, the procedures to give the central government the last word in case of local opposition, and the decision to declare nuclear sites as areas of "national strategic interest." The court opinion motivating the ruling has not yet been made public.
The Italian government plans to build the first four nuclear plants, using French EPR technology, followed by a second group of plants, in order to bring from zero to 25% the amount of electricity produced by nuclear power in Italy.