Western European News Digest
Sarkozy Less Confrontational After Moscow Summit
Oct. 11 (EIRNS)French President Nicolas Sarkozy completed two days of talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 10, and by all accounts, the French leader has backed down from the harsh anti-Russian rhetoric of his Presidential campaign, and tilted back to more traditional Franco-Russian cooperation. Signs of this shift were evident at the joint press conference the two leaders held at the close of their summitparticularly with respect to the issue of Iran. In his opening comments to the French and Russian media, Sarkozy said, "We have thoroughly discussed the Iranian issue. We listened to Mr. Putin's views on the eve of his visit to Tehran. And, in general, I think that our positions are somewhat closer."
U.S. sources who closely tracked the Moscow summit reported that Sarkozy has veered from his confrontational line against Iran. Lyndon LaRouche observed that Sarkozy's behavior in Moscow also reflected efforts by the traditional French national security institutions, to steer the newly elected President in a direction consistent with French national objectives.
Italy Discussions on Nuclear Power Restoration Proceed
Oct. 11 (EIRNS)The Committee on Productive Activities of the Italian Chamber of Deputies began a discussion yesterday on draft bill 2211 on advancing nuclear energy, introduced last week by Alleanza Nazionale, an opposition party. Views were expressed by two committee members, Ruggero Ruggeri, from the government "L'Ulivo" coalition, and by Luigi D'Agrò, a Christian Democrat (UDC) from the opposition; and also by Deputy Minister Alfonso Gianni. A new date will be set for the continuation of the discussion, with a perspective of a three- to four-month-long process, a committee member told EIR. This initial dialogue marks an important step in line with the international shift toward advancing nuclear energy.
Goldman Sachs Man Draghi Accused of Italian Destablization
Oct. 11 (EIRNS)The head of the "Global Plunge Protection Team," Italian Central Bank Director Mario Draghi, zeroed in on the Italian government budget plan yesterday, indicating that the Goldman Sachs-centered oligarchical "ship of fools" has put its former collaborator, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, on its list of victims to be "caymanized." Draghi, a former Goldman Sachs executive and chairman of the International Financial Stability Forum, told a Parliamentary committee that the government should have used tax revenue surpluses to balance the debt, instead of redistributing it to families.
Similar statements had been issued by European Union chairman Manuel Barroso on Oct. 9.
Draghi was rebuked today by Alfonso Gianni, Italy's Deputy Minister for Productive Activities, who accused Draghi of being "an element of destabilization of the government choices." Writing in the daily Liberazione, Gianni connected Draghi's attacks to the new program of the Italian Democratic Party, which "is born under the mark of the total support of the Maastricht guidelines, or rather, a radical implementation of those guidelines in a forced march." Gianni defended the government plan, although he said it is insufficient, because it postpones a real recovery plan made of "innovative public interventions in strategic economic sectors." The Draghi-Democratic Party front, Gianni wrote, is now jeopardizing this effort.
'Shock Therapy' Pushed by Italian Democrat
Oct. 9 (EIRNS)Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, and soon-to-be head of the Democratic Party of Italy, said yesterday that he wants "shock therapy" to cut down Italy's public debt, by privatizing real estate properties owned by the government. Veltroni, who is seen as the man who will replace Romano Prodi in the event of early elections next year, was supported by free-market economists who asked for extending privatizations to infrastructure, such as the energy grid, railways, postal service, television, shipbuilding, and prisons. Veltroni was rebuked by State Undersecretary for Finances Alfiero Grandi, who said that any "radical debt reduction threatens public expenses, or could turn into the sale of control of [energy concerns] Eni and Enel, with a deadly effect on the economy." For an economic recovery, instead, "we need a responsible, rational and innovative return to public intervention into the economy."
Spain: Leaders of Batasuna Arrested
Oct. 7 (EIRNS)Spanish prosecutor Baltasar Garzon issued arrest warrants for 23 people, all belonging to the separatist Basque party, Batasuna. The blitz occurred Oct. 4, in Segura in the Basque region. The separatist party has been illegal since 2003 and its members have been meeting and organizing press conferences for years. But only in the last weeks was there an escalation for the fight against the separatist movement.
The last big police blitz was in 1997, under the Aznar government. At that time 23 people were arrested under Garzon's bench warrant, but the Spanish Supreme Court revoked the sentence, freeing all those detained. Watch this development in view of the financial crisis building in Spain.
Switzerland: 'No Plan B Alternative to Nuclear Energy'
Oct. 8 (EIRNS)In Switzerland, a user of nuclear energy-produced electricity, which also exports it to Italy, is drafting plans for new nuclear plants to fill an expected electricity gap. The head of Atel, the power construction firm based in Aare-Tessin, said in an interview with the Neue Zuercher Zeitung, that "there is no Plan B" alternative to nuclear energy.
Two new plants are necessary in Switzerland, says Giovanni Leonardi, reporting that there are already negotiations among Swiss producers to build a consortium. A new plant, based on existing technology, costs 5 billion Swiss francs ($4.2 billion), and the two required ones should be built on an existing site, in order to exploit existing infrastructure, Leonardi said.
In 2030, the country's projected electricity gap will be equivalent to the amount necessary to provide a city of 600,000 inhabitants.