Western European News Digest
Papandreou Considering Referendum on Euro Exit
Sept. 20 (EIRNS)The Greek government is reportedly considering holding a referendum on whether Greece should leave the euro and return to the drachma. Is this why Papandreou cancelled his recently scheduled Washington trip at the last minute? Citing unnamed sources, the Greek liberal daily Kathimerini claims that the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is considering calling a referendum, in the hope that the vote would be in favor of Greece staying in the Eurozone and thus give him a popular mandate to carry out the austerity measures being demanded by the EU-EC-ECB Troika.
EIR's Greek sources report that if a referendum were held, people would vote against the euro.
50,000 Trade Unionists Protest EU Policies
Sept. 18 (EIRNS)By most press accounts, upwards of 50,000 trade unionists were outside the Sept. 16 European finance ministers' meeting in Wroclaw, Poland, protesting the EU's neoliberal policies. The protest was organized by the European Trade Union Council, which said, in a statement: "Current austerity policies are fostering unemployment and rising inequalities. Wages are not the enemy of the economy, but their engine." Union activists came from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, and Slovenia, as well as Poland, to participate in the rally.
Berlin Vote Spells End of FDP; Merkel Coalition
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)With the Free Democrats (FDP) getting cut down to 1.9%, from their 7.8% in the last Berlin city-state elections five years ago, the minor coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel in the national government has been turned into a virtual reality, a fringe party, and Merkel's government is a "lady without underbelly" nownominally still there, but significant parts of the body have been lost. The elites and mainstream media don't want the FDP anymore. They are boosting other artificial parties, like the "Pirates," which now enter the Berlin city-state parliament after getting 9% of the vote.
As for the Merkel government coalition, it may not even last until the Bundestag vote on the bailout package on Sept. 29. The SPD and the Greens, the two "winners" of the Berlin elections, might try a no-confidence vote against Merkel, and the FDP may quit the Merkel government in the coming week. With the SPD and Greens having far less scruples about doing the super-bailout, the markets are in favor of a Red-Green new government in Germany anyway.
Danish Op-Ed Reflects Schiller Institute Platform
COPENHAGEN, Sept. 23 (EIRNS)A week after the Danish elections, in which three independent candidates from the Friends of the Schiller Institute (SIVE) put Glass-Steagall on the agenda with their slogan "Glass-Steagallor Chaos!" an op-ed in the major Danish daily Politiken about what the policy of the new government should be, calls for reviving the idea of a separated bank sector. It is penned by two people from a new think tank, Cevea.
In addition, they call for "Man on the Moon" projects, including high-speed rail to "drive technological development," reflecting the SIVE candidates' proposals for a science-driver and maglev across the Kattegat.
Both of these proposals were central to the Swedish Schiller Institute campaigns.
Karlsruhe Judge: No European Economic Government Without Referendum
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)Peter Michael Huber, judge at the Karlsruhe Constitutional Court, this weekend in Süddeutsche Zeitung said that any plans for an European economic government with extended areas of jurisdiction, which German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy are pushing for, and which the SPD and Greens have enthusiastically welcomed, cannot be done without a referendum in Germany, and is unconstitutional. This is a useful echo of Helga Zepp-LaRouche's call for a referendum on any such decisive steps two weeks agoeven though it does not address the need to return to the national currency, D-mark, and regain full economic sovereignty.
Huber also attacked EU Commissioner Günter Öttinger for his outrageous call to send state commissioners to Greece. This would endanger peace in Europe, since none of the citizens of Greece, Spain, Italy, or Portugal would submit to such a foreign rule forever. Solidarity yes, he said, but you cannot put people "under the heel."
Pharmaceutical Companies to Greece: Pay or Die!
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)The Swiss pharmaceutical Roche, which makes some of the world's most important cancer medications, has halted deliveries of medications to several state-owned Greek hospitals.
Roche isn't the first pharmaceutical company to stop supplies to some Greek buyers. Denmark's Novo Nordisk S/A last year stopped shipping certain brands of insulin, after Greece said it would cut the amount it would pay by more than a quarter. The cutoff lasted a few weeks, until a compromise was reached.
Roche is considering taking similar action with Spain, said Swan, and noted that some state-funded hospitals in Portugal and Italy are also late on their payments. "America's Future? Greece Defaults on Cancer Treatments in State-Owned Hospitals," suggests Forbes.
Spanish 'Indignados' Hold Large Demos
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)Some 35,000 people marched in Madrid on Sept. 18 to demonstrate against the horrendous cuts in public servicesespecially education and health carewhich are being forced upon Spain's regional governments by the IMF, the ECB, and the EU, as part of their insane bailout schemes. The demonstration, along with parallel Sunday rallies in Barcelona, Valencia, and Malaga, were called by the M-15 grouping within the "Indignados" youth protest movement, and included major participation by unionized and other workersindicating the way at least some in the "Indignados" movement continue to raise broader issues to involve other layers of the population.
For example, over recent months the "Indignados" have also mobilized to stop evictions and demand changes in mortgage default legislation, which is a very hot issue in Spain.
The march's main slogan, according to Cuba's Prensa Latina, was: "Bankers and Politicians, Get Your Hands Off Public Services."
British PM Cameron's 'Big Green Society'
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)A video surfaced last week of British Prime Minister David Cameron giving a press conference at Greenpeace's London headquarters, just before he became prime minister in 2010. In the video, the Tory candidate proclaims his support for all the things that the ghoulish Prince Philip advocates: solar power, decentralizing the power grid, micro-power projects, reducing "heavy" investment in power projects, and making local communities "energy self-sufficient." The video opens with Cameron standing amid the solar panels on the roof of Greenpeace headquarters touting solar power, although the day was overcast with no Sun visible.