Western European News Digest
German Chancellors, Past and Present, on Putin's Proposals
July 19 (EIRNS)The current and former Chancellors of Germany supported, in separate statements, on July 19, a serious consideration of Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal for a missile shield in Europe. In an interview with a Russian TV channel, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said that he does not approve of U.S plans to deploy its missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Schröder said that these plans will cancel all agreements reached after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. He thinks that Russia's President has made a reasonable proposal to share a radar base in Azerbaijan with the U.S and Europe. Schröder said that Washington's reaction to Russian initiative will disclose its true intentions.
Schröder's successor, Chancellor Angela Merkel, was more diplomatic, and avoided criticizing the U.S. government. Answering a question at the traditional Summer press conference, Merkel said that the question of missile defense "must be once more discussed within NATO. I've always said: the NATO-Russia Council is the forum of discussion." "Russia has made interesting proposals," Merkel said, "And I believe that through that, there is now a whole packet of discussion possibilities on how we arrange that."
U.K.-U.S. 'Special Relationship' Strained
July 14 (EIRNS)The Chinese news service Xinhua reported today on articles in the conservative British newspaper the Daily Telegraph, that the "special relationship" with the U.S. is under strain.
The public controversy was kicked off by a recent speech in Washington, at the Council on Foreign Relations, by Britain's International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, who, the Telegraph reported the day before, called on the United States to build alliances that reach out to the world, rather than simply shield it from terrorism.
The Telegraph interpreted these remarks as a "carefully crafted criticism," and the London Times called them "a series of coded criticisms" of American foreign policy. Later the same day, Prime Minister Gordon Brown denied any weakening of the special relationship, and announced he would be going to Washington in the next few weeks to meet with Bush.
Despite these denials, the new Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Asia, and the UN, Lord Mark Malloch Brown, said in a Telegraph interview July 12, that Britain should broaden its international relationships rather than rely solely on its special relationship with America, and that Prime Minister Brown will not be joined at the hip with President Bush, as was Tony Blair. Lord Brown anticipates that Britain's approach to foreign policy is about to change radically, but that will not necessarily create conflict with the United States, where policy is changing as well.
Italians Support French Challenge to Maastricht
July 18 (EIRNS)Two former Italian economics ministers have supported the French government's right to override restrictions on national spending, imposed by the European Union Treaty, signed at Maastricht, The Netherlands, in 1992, and its subsequent amendments.
Giulio Tremonti, former finance minister in the Berlusconi government, and Paolo Savona, former industry minister in the first Prodi government, independently supported the French government's right to override the European Currency Board and European Union Commission on matters of currency and budget.
The two interventions do not address the austerity measures promoted by the French government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, but limit themselves to asserting national sovereignty. In this limited sense, they are correct and are an expression of the unavoidable crisis affecting the supranational European Union bankers' government.
U.S. Chief Justice To Meet With Sarkozy
PARIS, July 15 (EIRNS)French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts this week. As EIR stated in January 2006, Roberts is one of the leaders of a "cabal of outright 'Schmittlerian' Nazis," together with Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, "all members of the self-avowed 'Conservative Revolutionary' Federalist Society." The Federalist Society is directly inspired by Nazi Crown Jurist Carl Schmitt, and is promoting his "unitary executive" theory, which led to Hitler's dictatorship. The Federalist Society directly influences the jurists around Cheney.
Sarkozy campaigned for a strong Presidency during the recent elections, and since his inauguration on May 16, he has centralized power around the President's office, away from the Prime Minister and the other ministries. One of his first reforms was to create a centralized agency for Homeland Security, supervised by his chief of staff and headed by a Sarkozy-allied executive of the General Intelligence, France's political police. This concept is derived from Napoleon's reign as Emperor. This new Homeland Security agency is set up to target the phenomenon of gangs in the poorer, working-class suburbs, so-called "subversives," and terrorists.
Roberts will also meet with French Constitutional Council president Jean Louis Debré.
Diplomat Warns of Drug Criminals in Kosovo Government
PARIS, July 18 (EIRNS)Kosovo is "a microcosm of delinquents," and the British and Americans are doing nothing about it, warned Rodolphe Richard, the French delegate to the United Nations, based in Pristina, Kosovo.
There are deep connections "between criminal and political sectors," including the drug trade, Richard, who has been alerting Paris for two months against the moves for Kosovo independence, told the French weekly Le Canard Enchaîné. Kosovo's justice system "refuses to deal with any case involving personalities [involved] in drug matters" and "money laundering," Richard said. Richard also referred to the "worrisome role" of the British and the Americans, noting that when the chief of Kosovo's secret services or the local drug kingpin is arrested, he is rapidly released.
Arguing against independence, the diplomat says that "very soon Kosovo will only be governable by the criminals that are controlling the totality of political, economic, and social matters."
The issue of Kosovo independence has been among the leading provocations wielded by the Cheney gang and the British, against Russia.
Subprime Mortgage Blowout Also Hitting Europe
July 18 (EIRNS)The U.S. subprime mortgage crash is now hitting European insurance companies, although the reported exposure is relatively small. Two Dutch-based insurers, Aegon and ING, each hold some $4 billion in U.S. subprime mortgage assets, and the U.K. insurer Prudential, about $200 million worth of market exposure, The Times reported today. France's Axa also faces losses, but the amount is not specified. This report came out just after the Bear Stearns admission that its hedge funds are worth nothing, based on estimates from the stockbroker firm Sanford Bernstein. While projecting "limited" losses in subprime loans, a Bernstein analyst said, "It is possible that there will be some hits to the insurers from subprime losses, while a more general credit deterioration, be it in prime mortgages or corporate credit, would clearly affect their profitability."