Western European News Digest
Italians Move Against Globalization of Agriculture
July 19 (EIRNS)Sergio Marini, head of the Italian national farmers' association, Coldiretti, says that increasing energy prices are challenging the concept of globalization, and that outsourcing production to cheap-labor countries will end. Food must be produced near the point of consumption, he said, both in rich and poor countries. Lyndon LaRouche demanded this in 2005, when he commissioned an EIR study entitled, "Where Is Your Food Coming From?" Marini cited a current study which shows that food travels about 1,600 kilometers, or 1,200 miles on average, before landing on the dinner table. (EIR had estimated about 1,500 miles.) A "zero-kilometer plan" is being pushed in Italy, to promote use of local food products, thus fighting inflation. The government of the Veneto region has restricted much of its own food purchases to food grown in that region.
A study by Coldiretti shows that Italy has only a six-month stock of wheat for bread, and only seven months of durum wheat supplies to make pasta. After that, wheat will have to be bought on international markets, at market prices. Marini said that Italy must invest in agriculture, to increase food supplies and create a strategic food reserve to stabilize prices.
French Plan To Leash ECB Causes Sharp Reaction
July 21 (EIRNS)The London Financial Times and other media today leaked a plan by French President Nicolas Sarkozythis semester's EU presidentallegedly to put the European Central Bank under political control. Sarkozy's plan has two pillars: 1) the publication of regular minutes of the ECB governing council meetings, where, among other things, interest rates are set; 2) a permanent secretariat for the Eurogroup, comprised of the finance ministers of Eurozone countries, in order to strengthen policy coordination and ensure closer contact between the ECB and the Eurogroup.
The idea of publishing minutes is especially upsetting to the ECB. According to the Financial Times, the ECB "argues that national central bank governors would be under pressure to explain their position to national audiencesundermining the principle that the ECB acts in the interests of the eurozone as a whole."
The French assault on the ECB has been centered around the issue of interest rates. Unfortunately, the Germans are not yet ready to join the challenge. According to a July 21 Reuters wire, when asked if Germany supported the French proposal, German Finance Ministry spokesman Torsten Albig responded with a flat, "No."
Italy: Is Tremonti's Power Threatening Berlusconi?
July 18 (EIRNS)Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti's international offensive against globalization, financial speculation, and in favor of a New Bretton Woods system, has generated tremendous popular support; however, if he does not implement an FDR-style emergency plan domestically, that support is going to disappear quickly.
Since the onset of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac crises in the United States, Tremonti has intensified his warnings on the systemic collapse, pushing a defensive line: We must freeze all spending, in order not to be caught off-guard when the storm explodes. Apparently Tremonti is afraid of frontally challenging the oligarchy, or he thinks he does not have enough political backing for that.
At a meeting with regional governors two days ago, Tremonti presented his budget. He started the meeting saying: "The world has changed. We are approaching a crisis that is similar to the 1929 crisis. Somebody had said and written that. When you leave of here, switch the TV on, and you will see images of American citizens in lines in front of the banks to withdraw their savings. We are at the beginning of the collapse, and while the collapse is coming, we are discussing 1 billion euros for the health system."
Italian media are now ominously raising the question whether Tremonti is becoming too powerful for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and whether he has a "hidden" political design.
EU Reverses Stand on Aid to Fishermen
July 21 (EIRNS)After one month of intense pressure, EU Commissioner Joe Borg announced, on July 15, an allocation of 600 million euros ($943 million) in aid to struggling fishermen. But today, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier announced that he was forced by the EU in Brussels to revise his aid plan to the French fishing industry. The EU accepted all of Barnier's 15 measures, he said, except the measure that allows lower-cost diesel fuel for fishermen; this angered Brussels, which saw it as a distortion of unbridled competition, because it allegedly gives an "unfair" advantage to French fishermen.
Bosnian Serb War Crimes Fugitive Karadzic Arrested
July 21 (EIRNS) After 13 years in which he evaded capture, fugitive war criminal Bosnian Serb Radovan Karadzic was arrested today by the Serbian government. According to Reuters, the Serbian police had received "a tip-off from a foreign intelligence service," several weeks ago, and, the British news service noted, the arrest came "on the eve of a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers" at which the issue of Serbian membership was to be discussed. Until now, the failure to arrest Karadzic and other accused war criminals, was used to argue against allowing Serbia into the European Union. The discussions of Serbia's EU status was scheduled, following the formation, in Serbia, of a new government, led by Boris Tadic's Democratic Party.
In 1995, Lyndon LaRouche and EIR identified the British hand in the Serbian gangs that carried out the ethnic-cleansing genocide during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. LaRouche noted that the British have been manipulating ethnic conflicts since before the finalization of the Sykes-Picot Treaty in 1916.
It is likely that the arrest of this longtime British asset was timed to help put "teeth" into the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, by the International Criminal Court last week (even though Karadzic was indicted by a different court).
Explosives Theft in France: Is a 'Hot Autumn' Ahead?
July 19 (EIRNS)Twenty-eight kilos of the powerful plastic explosive Semtex, along with detonating devices, were yesterday discovered to have been stolen from a depot of the security services near Lyon, France. The theft is being taken very seriously by French authorities, and the Interior Ministry immediately suspended the official in charge of the site, for lax security. The explosives at the depot were used by bomb disposal experts to destroy munitions from former battlefields. The anti-terrorist section has also opened an investigation. The odorless, powerful explosive is undetectable by dogs or by x-ray scanning, and 10 kilos are sufficient to blow up an airplane. Semtex was often used in the past by the Red Brigades, Action Directe, and other terrorist outfits.
Last month, Jean-Marc Rouillan, a founder of Action Directe, who recently completed a 30-year prison sentence, attended the founding of the "new" anti-capitalist party pushed by Olivier Besancenot of the Trotskyite Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).