From Volume 38, Issue 35 of EIR Online, Published September 9, 2011

Western European News Digest

Slovakian Political Leader Says No to EFSF

Aug. 29 (EIRNS)—Richard Sulik, president of the Slovakian parliament and chairman of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (SaS), announced that his party, which has a crucial 22 votes, will block the agreement to the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) expansion of powers. Sulik said this in an interview in the Aug. 27-28 weekend edition of Germany's Die Welt.

Sulik's party is one of the four parties in the governing coalition of Slovakia. The decisions on the EFSF made at the July 21 EU Summit have to be agreed to by all, and this will now prevent the Slovakian "yes." The Slovakian reaction indicates how, in the smaller, post-Communist countries, the pressure is building against the Brussels supranational dictatorship, which they thought they had gotten rid off in 1990.

Greek Parliament: Bailout Has Failed; Debt Out of Control

Sept. 3 (EIRNS)—The Greek bailout, with its "memorandum" policy of brutal austerity, is an utter failure. The Greek parliamentary panel of financial experts released its report Aug. 31: the EU219 billion bailout is failing. The deficit and the accumulation of debt are out of control, because the economy is in free-fall, expected to contract by more than 4.5% instead of an earlier prediction of 3% by the end of this year.

"The increase in the primary deficit in combination with a further drop in economic activity strengthens significantly the dynamics of debt ... and distances the possibility of stabilization of the debt to GDP in 2012," the panel known as the State Budget Office wrote in its 18-page report.

The report came out at the same time that representatives of the Troika—the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the IMF—were in Athens reviewing Greece's progress in implementing the memorandum, which review will determine whether it receives the next installment of the bailout. The Troika broke off talks abruptly and left, in what the Financial Times today called a "walkout."

Trade Union, Social Resistance Growing to EU-Dictated Austerity

Sept. 1 (EIRNS)—Throughout Europe, trade unions are taking action against austerity packages, all dictated by various Eurocracies:

* Italy: The CGIL trade union federation announced a general strike for Sept. 6 against the Berlusconi-Trichet demands to cut EU131 billion from the national budget.

* Poland: In response to an appeal by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in collaboration of the Polish trade union confederations, Solidarnosc and OPZZ, a demonstration will be held on Sept. 17 in Wroclaw. The purpose is to proclaim the European unions' opposition to the attack on trade union rights and collective bargaining, and to the austerity measures.

* France: The Indignados who marched from Madrid on their way to Brussels, will arrive in Paris on Sept. 16, where they will hold a three-day social forum. French trade union leaders are meeting today to decide new actions against the domestic austerity policies. The CGT union federation is calling for a day of action in early October; the teachers unions will go on strike Sept. 27.

* Spain's major unions have organized street protests against a government decision to amend the Constitution to set budget deficit levels coherent with the EU rules, before a general election in November.

U.S., Obama Collapse Aired in France

PARIS, Aug. 31 (EIRNS)—Today's Le Parisien, with a circulation of some 300,000 in greater Paris, features the bankrupt state of the U.S. This is the first time that a mass newspaper in France, has revealed the extent of the U.S. crisis, the very first time that they lay the responsibility on Obama's incompetence.

The front-page banner headline reads, "In the Heart of a Bankrupt America," and is followed by a photo of devastated Birmingham, Ala., the county seat of Jefferson County, which is threatened with bankruptcy. The paper's investigation took place here, in "the heart of disenfranchised America." "With $9,790 billion in debt, the leading economic power in the world remains in torment. More seriously, states, cities, and counties are semi-bankrupt."

An accompanying article, "Obama in Torment," reports on Obama's murderous Summer, starting with the debt problem, S&P's downgrading U.S. debt, the death of 30 troops in Afghanistan, and criticism of his luxury vacation on Martha's Vineyard. "He saved the banks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers ... and promised to make world finance moral, but surrounded by former bankers, especially advisors who came from Goldman Sachs, he bowed to the Wall Street lobby."

Italian Mayors Fight Euro-Austerity

Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—Draped in Italian flags, sporting banners and chanting: "We Are the Real Resources of Italy!" more than 1,500 mayors of towns and cities demonstrated in Milan Aug. 29 against an austerity plan that aims to slash EU9.5 billion of funding to regional and local governments over the next two years. Part of the package would force towns with populations below 1,000 to merge with their neighbors as part of the emergency cost-cutting budget.

The austerity plan "endangers basic public services," Mayor Franco Roccon of Castellavazzo, a town with a population of 1,800 in northeast Italy, told AFP. Roccon, a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, argued that the small villages are not the cause of high public spending.

Evoking the history of Italy, a nation forged from countless city-states protective of their local traditions, dialects, and diversity, some of the mayors of the 1,963 towns in 29 departments slated to disappear, turned in the honorary keys to their towns in protest.

Spain's Constitutional Amendment on Deficit

Sept. 2 (EIRNS)—The lower house of Spain's parliament voted 316-5 today to approve a constitutional amendment that would limit future government budget deficits. It is expected to sail through the Senate next week—despite significant mass protests yesterday and today by trade unionists and others.

The lopsided vote was the result of a deal struck between the ruling socialist PSOE party and the opposition conservative PP—which is expected to replace the Zapatero government in the upcoming November elections—to ram the change through to try to please London's predatory financiers. The amount of the deficit ceiling, which applies to the Federal and the regional governments, will be specified in a separate law to be adopted by June 30, 2012. It is expected to be 0.4%. This is only the second time in the 30-year history of the current Spanish constitution, that it has been amended.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the measure, which she has vociferously demanded of all European governments under the heading of imposing a "debt brake."

Berlin-Brandenburg TV Covers BüSo Glass-Steagall Campaign

Sept. 2 (EIRNS)—In the context of a Sept. 1 special on the "Thirteen small parties" that are running for seats in the Berlin city-state election of Sept. 18, the regional television RBB (Radio Berlin-Brandenburg) gave coverage to the BüSo—the LaRouche party in Germany—as an introduction to the party's top candidate Stefan Tolksdorf, who was invited to the 90-minute show along with the other 12 candidates.

RBB wrote that "in Berlin, the BüSo is campaigning for a Trennbanken system (according to type, banks are permitted to offer only clearly-defined services) and the return to the Bretton Woods agreement (fixed exchange rates) for the development of the world economy. The election campaign was not oriented toward local issues. The reason for that: the BüSo wants people to look beyond their own doorstep, because the problems of Berlin neither originate here nor are then genuinely local. The BüSo presents a state slate and candidates for the districts of Mitte, Pankow, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Spandau, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, and Tempelhof-Schöneberg."

See InDepth for more on the German elections.

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