Western European News Digest
Merkel Calls for New Financial Architecture
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)In her keynote address to the German Entrepreneurs Convention in Berlin today, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of a "great challenge posed to politics by this crisis," and she said that "things in parts of the financial sector cannot remain as they have been." She added that "a mandate for concrete talks about a new financial architecture internationally has to be passed by the world financial summit on Nov. 15." Moreover, she underscored, the new architecture must be worked out "within the next few monthsnot a few years from now."
Lyndon LaRouche commented that a contributing factor in producing this shift by Merkel was the failure of Andrea Ypsilanti of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) to create a "red-green" coalition with the support of the Linkspartei (Left Party). That failure produced a "major shock" inside Germany, LaRouche said.
Speaking to participants on the sidelines of the event, EIR's correspondent found that people are much more fearful about the next waves of the collapse than Merkel would publicly admit.
French Economist Endorses FDR Bretton Woods; Denounces Brown
Nov. 6 (EIRNS)In an interview granted to the French weekly Nouvel Observateur of October 30, the 65-year-old French economist Jean-Luc Greau, author of The Future of Capitalism, clearly draws the lines between a real FDR-style new Bretton Woods in favor of the general welfare, and the financiers' perversions of the idea, such as that floated by Gordon Brown, "a declared advocate of the City [of London]."
Asked what one can expect of an new Bretton Woods, Greau responded: "It's either one thing or the other. Either the new Bretton Woods is in the lineage of the preceding one, which tended to stabilize the world from the economic, monetary and financial standpoint to favor prosperity, employment and the material, intellectual, and moral progress of populations. Or it proceedseven more than at the point the crisis eruptedtrying to subject companies and populations to the demands of those financial operators just saved by the states."
He indicated that "if one speaks, as does Gordon Brown, the declared advocate of the City, to nominate international supervisors of the largest banks in the world, is one not proposing nothing other than the enlargement of ever-more power outside government control?"
EU Report: Britain Is Drug Capital of Europe
Nov. 6 (EIRNS)The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has issued a study finding that the U.K. has the highest prevalence of amphetamine use in its adult population, the most adults who have used Ecstasy, and the highest use of cocaine in the 15- to 34-year-old age bracket, the London Daily Telegraph reported today. Britain also has the third-highest use-level of cannabis (behind Denmark and France), though it is reported to be declining there, partly because of new anti-smoking laws. The Telegraph and the Guardian say that cocaine use in Britain has stabilized at its high level, though it is unclear whether that assertion is from the Monitoring Centre report or from the British Home Office. the Telegraph says the study "also found that the UK is now an international hub for the sale of drugs over the internet."
The Guardian's report on the EU study focuses on the aspect, that the record Afghan opium harvest this Autumn is threatening a "new heroin crisis" in Britain and across Europe. The article is accompanied by a photo of an opium poppy in bloom, which is captioned, "Afghanistan has produced two record opium harvests, with Helmand province, where British soldiers are based, accounting for more than half the poppies grown."
WWF Genocidalists in France React to LaRouche Exposé
Nov. 6 (EIRNS)The posting on the website of Lyndon LaRouche's associates in France, the Solidarity and Progress party, of a small news item on the recent World Wildlife Fund report calling for world population reduction, provoked an hysterical reaction from the French section of WWF. The item received over a thousand visits in less than 24 hours, and was picked up on several other websites.
The WWF's official press officer called the Solidarity and Progress office to express their anger that the news item, first published on the website of LaRouche PAC, www.larouchepac.com, had mentioned that one of the WWF's founders, the late Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands, had signed his letter of resignation from the Nazi SS with "Heil Hitler."
The S&P spokesman said it would welcome a comment from the WWF for posting on the S&P website.
Crisis Hits German Auto, Farming
Nov. 3 (EIRNS)BMW, Germany's second-largest carmaker, announced it is halting auto production for five days, and sending 40,000 of its workers in Germany home. Whereas management says this would be a one-time measure, insiders are pointing out that BMW sales have slowed in recent weeks, and that the company may have to halt production again, in early 2009.
Germany's farming sector is badly affected by the global crisis, with operating expenses during the past 12 months having shot up. Speculation has driven the price of a ton of wheat up to Eu200, and for the first time in many years, wheat growers were making some marginal profit. But in recent weeks, the price of a ton has dropped to Eu120-130, cutting farmers' income drastically, whereas their expenses have stayed high. If the government does not intervene now to support the farmers, many of them will reduce sowing, with the relevant consequences for next year's harvest.
EU Orders Poland To Shut Down Shipyards, Repay State Aid
PARIS, Nov. 7 (EIRNS)Today's London Financial Times reports that the long-running European Union probe into Poland's tottering shipyards came to a dramatic end, as the EU Commission declared that billions of euros of state aid had been given unlawfully, and must be repaid. The Commission also said it would welcome a plan that would see Polish authorities sell off assets at the Gdynia and Szczecin shipyards through an open tender system, and then liquidate the existing companies there. Only the privatized Gdansk shipyard escaped the ruling, though the EU also demanded its restructuring.
EU Competition Minister Nellie Kroes, who called her decision "one of the hardest" ever made, was challenged yesterday on why shipyards employing thousands of skilled workers got an adverse decision, while speculative bankers were rescued.