Western European News Digest
EU Members Reach Agreement on Supranational Government
June 23 (EIRNS)The synarchist faction in the financial oligarchy moved one step further towards world dictatorship with the agreement, reached June 22, on a reform of the EU treaty that abolishes the veto power of member-states, thus eliminating a basic protection of national sovereignty which has been an integral part of the European Community since its inception. The new draft treaty reproduces "the substance" of the former EU constitutional treaty which voters in France and the Netherlands have already soundly rejected. The decision to reintroduce the same treaty and have it approved by governments or parliaments alone, is therefore in itself an act of dictatorial power.
According to Italian and British media reports, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to overcome opposition from Poland to include the elimination of the veto rights of EU members, in favor of a "double majority" system: EU laws and regulations will be approved if they get a 55% majority of member-states and a 65% majority of EU populations. This reform, which will be implemented in 2017, makes it impossible for single states to oppose legislation that goes against their national interests, if two or three large EU countries support that legislation.
In order to polish the image of the French and British governments, which face domestic unpopularity after the decision, the new draft treaty has included some cosmetic compensations, such as the modification of a free-trade provision, and the exclusion of justice issues from the majority vote.
But another dictatorial feature has been introduced, with the extension of a second mandate for the EU chairman, the non-elected official who, with the new voting system, will function as a prime minister of the EU council of ministers. This has been called the "permanent chairmanship."
And, a campaign to criminalize opponents of the European superstate is being prepared. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano declared, in a speech in Sienna, in the presence of German President Horst Koehler, that it is "psychological terrorism to suggest the specter of a European superstate," according to the Daily Express June 17. Koehler added that it is "populistic, demagogic campaigning."
Scandinavian Countries Reorient to Russia
June 25 (EIRNS)In the face of a growing economic and energy crisis on the one side, and the tremendous opportunities of economic and energy cooperation with Russia and Eurasia on the other, Scandinavian countries are making moves to distance themselves from the British-U.S. (Cheney-Bush Administration) policy of confrontation with Russia. The background is a determined drive by the Socialist government of Norway to create the New Energy of Province of Europe in the Barents Sea, in cooperation with Russia. Official statements by the Norwegian government stress that this huge "generational" project, to exploit the enormous gas fields in the ice-cold and stormy waters of the High North, is conditioned on good relations with Russia. Since April 2006, the project has been at the center of the Norwegian government's diplomacy to win cooperation of its neighbors, especially Sweden, in the huge project.
Although these overtures were dismissed by the previous Social Democratic government of Sweden, in February 2007, the new Swedish government began cooperating with Norway, resulting in a flurry of meetings in the Scandinavian countries. In the second week of June, Scandinavian foreign ministers met several times, while Norwegian King Harald visited Finland.
At the same time, these countries are seeking new openings with Russia. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and the CEO of Statoil each met individually with President Vladimir Putin. Swedish King Charles XVI Gustav led a study group of the Swedish Royal Engineering Academy of Science to Russia, which included discussion of cooperation with Russia in the nuclear and space sciences. Even though this was not an official state visit, it paved the way for a meeting between the King and President Putin.
Brown Steps In to 10 Downing Street
June 27 (EIRNS)The new British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, stepped into the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street, after a brief speech promising "change." The acid test will begin tomorrow with the announcement of his "new, new" cabinet.
It is likely that Brown will keep his distance from Europe more than Blair had, and from the Cheney-Bush Administration, sticking closer to the Democrats.
Meanwhile, Blair has visited his constituency of Sedgefield, which is facing by-elections, so that Blair can take his new job as envoy of the Middle East Quartet.
European Resistance Stops Release of Violent Video Game
June 25 (EIRNS)A little-known British government agency has derailed an offensive to market a super-violent video game internationally, according to the Money Times of June 22. The game, "Manhunt 2," was designed as the follow-on to "Grand Theft Auto," which portrays an African-American stealing a car, and then killing, shooting, and raping as he terrorizes an entire city. The British Board of Film Classification and Entertainment gave "Manhunt 2" an "Adults Only" rating last week. The next day it was banned in Ireland. Then Italy's Communication Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, said he, too, would seek to bar it, calling it "cruel and sadistic," with "a squalid environment and a continuous, insistent encouragement to violence and murder."
The coup de grâce came when the U.S. Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) followed the British suit, and gave the game an "Adults Only" (AO) rating. Most large retailers, such as Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart, do not sell AO games. The ESRB, established by legislation sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), has allowed video-game sales to grow into the billions of dollars by giving "M" or "Mature" ratings to such super-violent games as "Grand Theft Auto." M-rated games are not supposed to be sold to children under 17, but this is rarely enforced. When the ESRB followed the British rating of AO, the producers of "Manhunt 2," Rockstar Games, announced on June 22 they were suspending its release, planned for July 10.
Head of Banks' Mini-State Gives Orders to Italy
June 28 (EIRNS)Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg, the tax-haven mini-state, which has more banks than inhabitants, yesterday issued an ultimatum to Italy not to use a budget surplus to finance social programs. Juncker, who is chairman of the Eurogroup, the committee representing EU member-states which have already adopted the euro, used tones which observers had not heard since the reform of the EU Stability Pact that introduced more budget flexibility.
"Italy must remember that it is responsible for the whole Eurozone and is not free to distribute the fruits of its growth at will," said Juncker according to the Italian national television station Raitre.
"If Italy does not succeed in substantially reducing its own debt and does not balance its accounts at latest in 2010, there will be serious problems for the entire Eurozone as well." Juncker added that he sees "social risks" that could develop, but Italy "must do everything possible to remedy and correct this situation."
Juncker's statements come in the middle of a delicate negotiation between the Italian government and trade unions on a change in the pension reform, which introduces a gradual increase of retirement age.
Italian Democratic Party Chooses Its Leader
June 28 (EIRNS)Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni will become the secretary general of the Italian Democratic Party (PD) at the October party congress, as agreed upon by the various factions in the party. Veltroni was nominated by Foreign Minister D'Alema in order to defeat the technocrat (Romano Prodi) and neo-con (Francesco Rutelli) factions in the PD. In this effort, he had the support of the Catholic faction, the second largest in the PD.
Significantly, when Veltroni was giving his swearing-in speech yesterday in Turin, in front of a large PD meeting, his rival Rutelli was in Washington meeting with Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Commenting on Veltroni's inauguration, opposition figure Giulio Tremonti said in an interview with Corriere della Sera, that "the post-Prodi era has begun." Veltroni is okay as long as he represents an anti-technocratic faction, Tremonti said, but he predicted early elections at latest in 2009.
Left-wing Sen. Lidia Menapace commented in her newsletter, that Veltroni and his allies will try to keep the Prodi government alive at least through the 2008 U.S. elections, betting on a regime change in the United States. She also said that "some Americans in the Democratic Party are pushing for impeachment."
The Italian LaRouche movement has published a statement on its website, by Movisol Florence representative Claudio Giudici, challenging Veltroni to put his money where his mouth is, and if he really loves Africa and the JFK legacy, as he claims to do, to support LaRouche's New Bretton Woods proposal, as voted by the Italian Parliament in 2005.