Western European News Digest
Striking Italian Cabbies Distribute LaRouche Movement Leaflet
May 31 (LPAC)All of Italy's 30,000 taxi drivers went on strike today against the government's deregulation plan. Thousands converged to demonstrate in Rome, where the city center, with its municipal and federal offices, was paralyzed. In Rome, as in Milan, strikers distributed a leaflet written and signed by Claudio Giudici for Movimento Soliarietà (Movisol), Lyndon LaRouche's co-thinker organization in Italy.
The leaflet exposes the taxi deregulation plan as part of the policy of globalization which aims to dismantle all state regulation in economic policy, opening the door for private capital to move in and create a monopoly. The inevitable result of such a policy is lower living standards for workers and poorer public services, as private capital is only out to make immediate profits. Thousands of copies of the leaflet, calling for a public investment plan in infrastructure and public transportation, as the alternative to congestion on city streets, were distributed in Milan and Rome. The leaflet situated the fight over taxi regulation as part of the need for a global shift towards an FDR-style policy of economic reconstruction, as called for by Lyndon LaRouche in the United States.
The national demonstration in Rome included 10,000 cars, along with over 30 busloads of demonstrators. Before noon they had already distributed thousands of leaflets at the Rome central station; from there they were going to Ciampino Airport and other locations.
The leaflet has been sent to all printed and electronic media as well. "This is only the beginning of a much broader fight," said one strike leader. "If it were only a question of taxis and gas stations [another sector targetted by deregulationed.], then we could simply find another job. But the real problem is much bigger, and requires a change in economic policy in general."
Sarkozy Prepares a French 'Homeland Security' Department
May 28 (EIRNS)French President Nicolas Sarkozy is preparing a kind of "Department of Homeland Security," a concentration of police/security powers, EIR's Paris bureau reports. Sarkozy is working to eliminate the opposition of both the Socialist Party (PS) and the new "centrist" Democratic Movement (MODEM) party of François Bayrou, by enticing their senior members to defect. Sarkozy is also proceeding to centralize all intelligence, domestic and overseas, into a single apparatus under his direct control.
The 2,000 employees of the Central Directorate of General Intelligence (political police) are already moving from their present quarters at the Interior Ministry to a building in the Paris suburbs, where they will be joined by their counterparts at DST (Directorate of Domestic Surveillance), SDAT (Counter-Terrorism Sub-Directorate), and later by the General Directorate of Foreign Security (DGSE). Overseeing the creation of this new security/intelligence apparatus is Claude Guéant, Sarkozy's chief of cabinet. Ultimately, it could be run by a new, American-style National Security Council, under the Presidency's control.
Clearly inspired by Bush's Department of Homeland Security, the new body will combine, says Le Figaro, the fight against the violence in the suburbs (where poverty and unemployment among many young immigrants are high) at the local level; counter-terrorism at the regional level; and at the central level, the struggle against "subversives." On May 2, Sarkozy wrote the head of the police trade union Synergie-Officiers, that he favors the "creation of a unified leadership for domestic intelligence in France, to better fight terrorism," adding, "I do not exclude adapting the structures of the national police to better respond to the evolution of delinquency."
Furthermore, Sarkozy is moving to create a unitary executive as conceived by Nazi legal theoretician Carl Schmitt, against the Fifth Republic system in which the President sets up the general thrust of policies and deals with defense and foreign affairs in particular, and the Prime Minister deals with day-to-day affairs. Sarkozy has scores of advisors, who will be dictating policies to the various ministers: in economics, seven experts; in social sciences, five experts; and defense and security, six experts.
Kosovo 'Compromise' Will Not Stop Crisis from Spreading
May 30 (EIRNS)EIR's correspondent in Zagreb, Croatia reported May 29 on a possible compromise on the status of Kosovothe heavily Albanian-populated region which has been part of Serbia for five decadeswhich may have been worked out between Russia and NATO powers. The most influential Croatian daily, Jutarnji List, wrote that, "according to some semi-official information from Moscow" the compromise on the future status of Kosovo has been agreed upon between Russia, the European Union, and the United States.
Today, however, Serbian President Boris Tadic gave an interview to Italy's Corriere della Sera, warning that granting of Kosovo independence will undermine international law and ultimately western stability. His remarks come at a point when all the governments of both western and eastern Europe are in crisis, bordering on ungovernability.
The U.S. and the European Union have recently put heavy pressure on members of the UN Security Council to endorse a resolution in which Kosovo would become an independent state under EU supervision.
Following a meeting in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Tadic declared that "Serbia does not consider as acceptable any form of independence of Kosovo. Serbia wishes integration in the European Union and fights for a compromise solution which is acceptable for both Belgrade and Pristina [the Kosovo capital].... I told Prodi and [Italian Foreign Minister Massimo] D'Alema that Serbia is ready to sit at the negotiating table to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties, and to find an integration of Serbia in the EU," Tadic said.
Security Tight for Hamburg Asia-Europe Conference
May 28 (EIRNS)Increased security precautions, including establishing a no-access zone of 500 meters around the conference site, have been taken for the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) conference of 43 foreign ministers from Europe and Asia, beginning May 28. The conference, taking place in the run-up to the June 6-8 Group of Eight Summit in Heilingdamm, Germany, is the target of "anti-globalization" protests, for which 5,000 protesters, including gangs of notorious rioters, are expected in Hamburg. Against the pattern of arson attacks earlier this year against institutions and prominent individuals in politics and business, justified by extremist anti-G-8 groups, security protection has been visibly upgraded in Hamburg, not just for the ASEM meeting, but also for other potential targets. The Hamburg protesters consider their demonstration as a feeder into what is planned as a 100,000-person protest at the G-8 Summit itself.
EU Credit Straitjacket Threatens Alps Rail Tunnel
May 28 (EIRNS)One of the linchpins of European infrastructure projectsthe Lyon, France to Turin, Italy Rail Tunnel under the Alps, originally proposed in the Delors Planis threatened because of the EU's control of the economies of its 27 member countries, through the foolish financial standards of the Stability Pact.
Italy's debt is already 107% of its Gross Domestic Product, much above the Pact's 60% limit.
Paolo Costa, a member of the Italian Parliament, and chair of the European Parliament's Transport Committee, has urged that the limit be waived. Costa has estimated that Italy would have to contribute 6-7 billion euros (about $9 billion) between 2007-2020 to build the tunnel. EU countries have until July 20 to respond to the EU's offer to fund 30% of 30 identified infrastructure projects.
But the EU Commission's officials said that it was unlikely Italy would get an exception, because that would open a "Pandora's Box," in the Commission's green-eyeshaded view, for other nations to buck the rules.
Denmark Responds to German Foot-Dragging on Bridge
May 30 (EIRNS)At the recent meeting between Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was announced that a decision about whether to proceed with the Fehmer Belt Bridge, connecting Copenhagen to the German mainland, will be made by the end of July.
In response to German foot-dragging and a PPP (public-private partnership)-model proposal, transportation spokesmen for three Danish political parties came out with new proposals today, by which Denmark would guarantee a larger share of the financing. The Danish Liberal Party wants Denmark to offer to stand behind three-quarters of a state-guaranteed loan, and Henriette Kjaer, from the Conservative Party, wants to offer 100% Danish financing. "We think that it will be a very attractive connection. Therefore, we are ready to finance 100% of the bridge," said Kjaer.