Western European News Digest
100,000 Irish Rally Against Bank Bailout
Nov. 27 (EIRNS)Despite sub-freezing weather and overnight snowstorms, over 100,000 Irishmen and women took to the streets of Dublin today to demonstrate against the attempt to sacrifice their country to bail out the banks of the British Empire's Inter-Alpha Group, Britain's Guardian reports. As the Donegal South West by-election already proved on Nov. 25, there is just no way the Irish will accept this.
The demonstrators rallied at the historic General Post Office on O'Connell Street, where the Irish Republic was first proclaimed on April 24, 1916, at the start of the Easter Rising against the British Empire. Many carried pictures of the heroes of the Irish wars of liberation.
Nonetheless, oblivious to reality, the EU-IMF-ECB delegation in Dublin is trying to wrap up a bailout agreement with Ireland's discredited Brian Cowen government this very weekend, and the EU finance ministers are to meet in Brussels beginning tomorrow to supposedly finalize it, Bloomberg reports.
Lyndon LaRouche said that the reality of the matter is that these guys are never going to get their money; if they keep at it this way, they are going to get riots, and bloodshed, and some current politicians are going to end up being dead politicians, because the people are going to lynch them.
Election Victory May Open Next Irish Government to Sinn Fein
Nov. 27 (EIRNS)The victory of Pearse Doherty in the Nov. 25 by-election in Donegal South West (a parliamentary district in the northwest of Ireland) is more than just a dramatic victory for the nationalist party Sinn Fein; it could begin to open the way for their entry into the next national government. With this new dynamic in Ireland, there is a very real possibility that the bailout/budget will be rejected by the population, which would sink the whole Inter-Alpha Group bailout scheme.
The Sinn Fein victory was indeed stunning. With a 55% turnout, Doherty received 40% of the vote. The ruling Fianna Fail candidate received only 21%, in a district that was considered "safe" for the party. The candidate for Fine Gael, the country's largest opposition party, got only 19%.
While the government thinks it can count on 82 votes in Parliamentwhich it needs to pass the budgetits real option is that the Fine Gael will either vote for the budget or abstain, since it has the same economic views as the Fianna Fail. This is based on a calculation that they think they will form the next government with the Labour Party. But the Sinn Fein victory, which is a clear indication that it could win a dramatic increase in the number of seats in the next parliament, overturns Fine Gael's calculations.
Inter-Alpha Group Bringing Down Belgium
Nov. 25 (EIRNS)Belgium is now on the debt crisis hit list. According to the London Guardian, the premium to insure Belgium's debt rose 5% yesterday, although it still is less than half that of Spain. The Guardian points to the high national debt, which is close to 100% of gross domestic product. What it doesn't mention, is the fact that Belgian banks hold $28.8 billion (EU21.52 billion) of Irish banking debt. This is comparable to that of Great Britain, considering how much smaller Belgium is. Of this amount, the Inter-Alpha Group's KBC Bank, which has a subsidiary in Ireland, holds $23.83 billion (EU17.8 billion), with the emphasis on mortgages, a sector known to be toxic in Ireland.
Other banks with high exposure besides KBC, are its brother Inter-Alpha bank Royal Bank Scotland, Lloyds, the Dutch bank Rabobank, and the Danish Danske Bank, which has 3% of the total credit exposure, 41% of this in mortgages in Ireland, and only 3% in government debt.
ECB: Portugal Should Take 'Pre-Emptive' Bailout
Nov. 26 (EIRNS)The chain-reaction European banking collapse continues. The European Central Bank (ECB) is pressuring Portugal to apply for a "pre-emptive " bailout. This is despite the fact that there is no signed and sealed bailout agreement with Ireland, nor has the European Financial Stabilization Facility raised any bailout funds. Besides theoretical guarantees for EU440 billion, it only has the EU31,000 in actual paid-up capital.
As with Ireland, the real issue is not Portugal's state debt or its budget deficit, but Spanish banks, which hold $77.8 billion (EU59 billion) of Portuguese private and public debt. Bloomberg.com reports that according to HSBS, a Portuguese bailout will cost EU51.5 billion, but a Spanish bailout would cost EU351 billion.
The Vultures Are Circling Over Spain
Nov. 24 (EIRNS)London's "success" in getting the Cowen government in Ireland to announce its four-year budget plan today, promptly led to further collapses of, not just Irish, but also Portuguese and Spanish bonds. Irish yields soared above 9%; Portuguese above 7%; and Spanish above 5%.
Spain's is the more significant of the three, since it is now vox populi on the "financial street" that Spain is the next country on which the financial vultures will descend, and that there isn't a prayer that there will be enough money available in the European Financial Stability Facilityor anywhere elseto bail out Spain's financial system, which is headed by the Inter-Alpha Group's flagship Santander Bank.
In this environment, Lyndon LaRouche's ideas are finding fertile soil. EIR's Dennis Small was interviewed on Radio Intereconomia of Spain, on Nov. 21, by investigative journalist Daniel Estulin. Afterwards, Estulin posted the entire Spanish-language translation of a recent LaRouche article on his widely followed website.
Italy: Savona Calls for Debate on 'Plan B' To Dump Euro
Nov. 24 (EIRNS) Paolo Savona, former government minister and current chairman of the Interbanking Deposit Guarantee Fund (FITD), has elaborated his call for Italy to consider abandoning the euro currency union, in interviews given in the past days. Savona compared the current EU "governance" system with a "foreign occupation," which he says the nation should get rid of.
Speaking to Radio Vaticana on Nov. 22, Savona said that the question is whether the euro will be abandoned by a willful choice or by "inevitable result." "A serious countryand I think our country is a serious countrymust have a program, an hypothesis, a 'Plan B' to include this possibility.... In my view, we should open a serious debate...."
Brits Fret That Germany Could Leave the Euro
Nov. 25 (EIRNS)The British seem to be convinced that it will be Germany that bolts first from the euro-Titanic. Following Gideon Rachman's "How Germany could kill the Eurozone" in the Financial Times Nov. 23, David Posser, writing in the Independent today, makes almost the exact same points. "The threat to the euro comes not from the weakest members, but from its strongest," says Posser, "Though the single currency is more the project of Germany than anyone, the patience of its voters is dwindling.
"Remember what triggered the current phase of the eurozone crisis: a speech to the German Parliament by Angela Merkel in which the Chancellor promised to reform the rules on financial stability so as to ensure, for the first time, that investors took a share of the pain in any bailout.... Reform of the treaties governing the euro is thus essential for Germany.... In practice, however, it is hard to imagine Germany succeeding in getting the reforms its electorate now desires. And that is the biggest threat to the European single currency right now, that next year, in frustration with its inability to deliver meaningful reform of the euro, Germany (and a handful of like-minded countries) might walk away from the project in which it has invested so much."
Royals Biographer: 'The Queen Goes Batty Every Afternoon'
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)Unofficial royals biographer Brian Hoey, whose book We Are Amused was released Nov. 17, told ABC's Nightline, "The fact [is] that the Queen goes batty every afternoon, and by that I mean the Queen likes to collect the bats who nest up in the higher reaches of the great hall. She brings them down with a large butterfly net on a long pole. And, of course, in Britain bats are a protected species so she has to release them. They're nocturnal animals so they come back again every night, so she does it again the next day."
EIR has previously reported that, emblematic of the "family values" of City of London usurers and of Prince Philip's World Wildlife Fund campaign to protect vampire bats, the Fund provides tokens in the form of stuffed vampire bats for those who donate to the WWF.
Hoey also reports that the Queen drinks a favorite cocktail, gin and Dubonnet on the rocks, butshe does not like to hear the ice clinking against the glass. So, "Prince Phillip did a little machine that creates tiny ice balls and they rub gently together," Hoey said.