Western European News Digest
London Reacts to Strategic Yekaterinburg BRIC Summit
May 18 (EIRNS)The Rupert Murdoch-owned London Times, in a rug-chewing fit May 16, registered London's reaction to the economic and political alliance of the BRIC nationsBrazil, Russia, India, and Chinaand especially the meeting of the foreign ministers of the three Eurasian nations in Yekaterinburg, Russia on May 14, where they set out, for the first time, coordinated positions on Kosovo, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Asia-Pacific region.
The Times reports, "an economic and political alliance of the BRIC nationsBrazil, Russia, India, and Chinais being formed today at a meeting of foreign ministers in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.... The formal agenda may be less significant than the Kremlin's political achievement in convening a high-profile gathering of four nations with vast resources but differing interests."
The Times then quotes Christopher Granville, an analyst for Trusted Sources, as saying, "What is interesting is that the Russians are showing that political clubs can be formed with or without the participation of the United States."
U.S., Kosovo Dismiss Russia-China-India Call for Talks
May 18 (EIRNS)Both the U.S. State Department and politicians in Kosovo have dismissed the joint call of the foreign ministers of Russia, China, and India, that talks should be resumed between the government of Serbia and leaders of the breakaway entity of Kosovo, according to Press Trust of India and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network yesterday. In answer to a question from the press, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack brushed aside the statements by the three Eurasian nations made in Yekaterinburg on May 14. "I guess we have a news flash for everybody, the status of Kosovo has been resolved. It's an independent state," McCormack asserted.
Kosovo dismissed the request as having no foundation, the Sofia Echo reported yesterday.
Prominent Italian Expert Campaigns vs. Lisbon Treaty
May 22 (EIRNS)A prominent Italian expert of law, Prof. Giuseppe Guarino from Rome University, has started a campaign against the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, calling for Italy not to ratify what he calls a system of "government by an organ," or "organocracy." Guarino explained his views in a public conference on "Ratifying the Lisbon Treaty?" in Florence on May 19. The event was crowded with constitutionalists and legal experts. Guarino's recommendation is: Do not ratify a treaty that violates at least two articles of the Italian Constitution: Art. 1 ("All sovereignty comes from the people"), and Art. 11 (Italy rejects any form of war and agrees to give up quotas of sovereignty in international treaties provided that the principle of reciprocity is maintained). As to Art. 11, the very fact that Britain and Denmark have been exempted from participation in the euro currency system violates the reciprocity principle. Two members of the same treaty agreement have different and unequal liberties: Britain can set its interest rates as it likes, taking advantage of other treaty members, etc.
Guarino, who was minister for industry in the first Giulio Amato government (1992-93), detailed how the new treaty dramatically increases the dictatorial powers of the EU Commission.
Guarino's speech has so far not been covered by any media. EIR will soon receive it and publish it in several languages.
EC Facing Anti-Lisbon Challenge from Former Green MEP
May 19 (EIRNS)The European Commission (EC) is facing a legal challenge from Irish anti-Lisbon Treaty campaigner Patricia McKenna. The former Green Member of European Parliament (MEP) claims that the European Commission has been interfering in the Irish political process in order to secure a "Yes" vote in the scheduled June 12 referendum on the treaty.
McKenna has criticized the EC for its funding of several events in Ireland, where the majority of speakers have been in favor of the treaty. But the organizers of the campaign have said the events are part of a wider, year-long series of "information seminars."
Fuel Prices Stoke Discontent in France
PARIS, May 20 (EIRNS)Confronted with record-high prices of gasoline, diesel, and heating oil, the French Federation of Transport and Logistic Companies (TLF) has called on the government to establish an emergency plan, with measures applicable immediately or in the short term. TLF underlines that the price of diesel increased by 16.72% since January 2008 and by 37.64% since January 2007. Among other measures, TLF asks for lowering of tolls on highways for "clean" vehicles. The only problem is that huge sections of the French highways have been sold recently to private companies, such as the Australian operator Macquarie.
For similar reasons, French fishermen are blocking major fishing ports. The rising cost of fuel to operate their ships is driving many of them to the point of bankruptcy. To search for solutions, Michel Barnier, Minister of Agriculture and Fishing, met his respective EU counterparts yesterday.
Prince Charles Hosts Dalai Lama
May 22 (EIRNS)The Dalai Lama met today with Prince Charles in London. Using a shovel that originally belonged to Charles' grandfather, King George VI, the Dalai Lama helped plant a tree on the grounds of one of his palaces, and then retreated inside for an hour-long "spiritual discussion."
The Lama also spoke before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. Prior to delivering the address, he was greeted by more than 1,000 demonstrators of ethnic Chinese origin and members of a religious order that the Lama banned in Tibet, carrying signs that read, "The Dalai Lama is neither God nor King of Tibet," "No return to serfdom," and "Dalai Lama, stop lying."
The Dalai Lama is scheduled to meet tomorrow with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, at the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.