Western European News Digest
German Judge Defends Constitution Against Globalization
The chairman of the German Federal Constitutional Court, Hans Juergen Papier, asked politicians "to show more courage," in an interview with the German weekly Stern, published the week of May 9. Germany's senior judge said that if one comes to the conclusion that economic excesses have to be eliminated, then one must be able to change the laws. He argued this on the basis that the notion of the "social state" is anchored in the German Constitution, and that this principle cannot be sacrificed to globalization. Parliamentary deputies have the constitutional obligation to prevent damage to the people.
BueSo Call for Reindustrialization Covered in NRW Press
North Rhine-Westphalia's largest circulation daily paper, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung May 13 declared the LaRouche-associated BueSo (Civil Rights Solidarity) movement as the only German party for reindustrialization. In an article on "small" political parties, the WAZ wrote: "The Buergerrechtsbewegung Solidaritaet (BueSo) is the only party in Germany that campaigns for the reindustrialization of the Ruhr region into a powerhouse for technology.
"It wants to turn back the clock, to create a new economic miracle for the region: shut-down rail-commodity terminals shall be reopened, and even more industry should settle here. An underground transport system (CargoCaps), which is yet to be built, would make sure that the most modern commodities are transported quickly in a revitalized mecca of production.
"Instead of disassembling coal mines in the Ruhr region and shipping them abroad, the BueSo candidates want to produce the mining equipment on an assembly-line and export them."
The article includes a picture of a BueSo campaign poster.
Signers of Zepp-LaRouche Call for New Bretton Woods
The former Science Minister of Germany's Brandenburg state, Steffen Reiche, signed Helga Zepp-LaRouche's call for a new Bretton Woods monetary system on May 12. Reiche, who is a deputy in the Social Democratic Party in Germany, is the former Minister of Science in the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin; Reiche is now a deputy in the Potsdam Parliament. Additional new signers include:
Prof. Blagoje Babic, professor of international finances, Belgrade
Dr. Winfried Hellemann, dentist (ret.), Bonn, Germany
Dr. Guenter Gorlt, dentist, Binz (Isle of Ruegen), Germany
Thierry Convent, architect, Brussels, Belgium
Ole Valentin-Hjorth, entrepreneur, Copenhagen, Denmark
Anita Pedersen, former nurse, Copenhagen, Denmark
Berlin Labor Federation Calls for Reindustrialization
The Berlin Labor Federation (DGB) has called for reindustrialization of Germany's capital. The DGB section in Berlin issued a memorandum signed by 45 DGB labor factory councilmen on May 11. The memorandum denounced the city administration's 15-year policy of fostering service-sector development as devastating, because it has destroyed more than 75% of the 420,000 productive industrial jobs that Berlin still had in 1990.
The labor unionists urge a reindustrialization of Berlin, plus the long-overdue construction of the new international airport, as well as other infrastructure projects.
It's Official: Italy Is in a Recession
The Italian economy has officially entered into a recession: For the second quarter in a row, Italy's GDP has declined. For the first quarter of 2005, GDP decreased by 0.5% over the previous quarter, which was already in the red. Industrial production declined even more, by 2.5%. Hardest hit were textiles (-11%), shoes (-16%), and furniture (-8.1%), which are the most exposed to competition from low-cost imports.
The automobile sector, which means primarily Fiat, took a bath: -9.8%. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a fool of himself by commenting that the production plunge is due to the Easter holidaysi.e., people worked fewer hours in Marchbut he was rebuked by the central statistics office, Istat, which explained that official figures are already adjusted to the number of actual working days. Since the new figures correct to -0.2% the forecasted GDP on a yearly basis, this threatens to drive Italy's budget deficit well over the 3% of GDP limit set by the European Union's so-called Stability Pact.
The EU Commission watchdogs have announced that they are preparing to start a disciplinary action in June; however, after the reform of the Stability Pact, the Commission has no mandate to take any executive decision, but must be referred to the EU Ministers' Council.
Cheminade Confronts Fabius on Euro Constitution
Former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius responded positively to a question from Lyndon LaRouche's Paris-based leading associate, Jacques Cheminade, on the issue of public productive credit. During the Gaullist Academy forum, May 13, Cheminade asked Fabius a question, prefacing it by saying that he, like Fabius, would vote against the European Constitution, for four essential reasons: 1) the role of France in the world, 2) a "certain idea" of Europe, 3) the financial oligarchy's control of the European Central Bank, and 4) Europe's submission to NATO.
Cheminade continued, that beyond a trivial consensus around those issues, if France has a universal mission, it must inspire Europe, the United States, and the world, through a mobilizing great works East-West and North-South, by redirecting money out of the virtual economy and into the real economy, in favor of infrastructure, research, and public health. But in order to realize such a project, money is needed, and it will not come from borrowing and taxes alone. We must call upon a third source, productive credit, as was the case for the Marshall Plan, the French indicative planning, and the policies promoted by Friedrich List and Alexander Hamilton. Yet, Articles III, 181 and III, 188 of the proposed constitutional treaty, Articles 104 and 109 of the European Union's Maastricht Treaty, and several national laws adopted since 1973, forbid absolutely such vital measures.
Cheminade then asked: "Mr. Fabius, are you ready, after May 29, the date of the national referendum, to fight to abrogate those measures and to go for a New Bretton Woods, and call for reconstruction, mutual development, and social justice, which both the right wing and left wing have been unable to create in France since the early '70s?"
People listened carefully to the long and precise question, and Fabius answered: "Monsieur, you were right to ask that question. To act, we need the means, and the Constitution does not give those means." He continued, "What had been planned for a Europe [EU] of 6, 11, and 15 members, is no longer valid for a Europe of 25 countries." He underlined that "sweeping changes must be carried out, and that it is preferable to do that before, rather than after the Constitution takes force, because this Constitution freezes things and makes any revision almost impossible," especially in the direction of a new international economic and monetary order.
French Socialist Leader Appreciates LaRouche Ideas
During a Socialist Party (PS) meeting to push for a "yes" vote for the EU Constitution referendum, the president of the Socialist caucus in the National Assembly, Nantes Mayor Jean-Marc Ayrault, was urged by a LaRouche Youth Movement member to take a stand on Jacques Cheminade's economic proposals, asking him, "What are you waiting for to get into a serious debate?" Ayrault responded: "Concerning Jacques Cheminade, I have met him, I am aware of his program. I sometimes get his newspaper, and I know it. Some ideas shouldn't be rejected, but they have never been taken up by any major party. His whole program, personally, I don't really believe in it, but that doesn't mean that there aren't good things in it."
To have LaRouche's French representative talked about seriously, in public, is a significant change in France. The moderator Jean Pierre Fougerat, mayor of a nearby town and one of the vice presidents of the Nantes Metropole, ordered the microphone be given to the LYM members, saying, "I know you are from Solidarité et Progrès [Solidarity and Progress, Cheminade's political party]. I recognize you from the meeting with former Economics Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn."
Also quite new for the "Yes" camp: After a second LYM member asked about the world auto industry's physical and financial crisis, Ayrault acknowledged that "financial capitalism causes mass unemployment." He mentioned his meeting with German Social Democratic Party chairman Franz Muenterfering last week. He then stated that "industrial investments such as Airbus should be possible for many other sectors." He continued, "But since the budget is weak, the rigor of the Stability Pact has to be reduced, particularly in time of crisis." He also mentioned the need for "investment in trans-European transport policy."
After the meeting, Fougerat asked the LYM members to come back on May 17, for Ayrault's next public forum.