Western European News Digest
German Social Welfare Cuts: Weimar Revisited
Aug. 19 (EIRNS)The debate in Germany around the brutal budget cuts by the government austerity program recalls the disintegrating economic situation in the 1920s Weimar Republic. The Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband, one of six central social welfare umbrella groups, representing 10,000 social and self-help organizations, has issued a study which compares the austerity policy now on the agenda in Berlin, with that of the Weimar Republic. "Whoever is now making cuts without looking at the consequences," says the study, "is not really acting much better than the various Chancellors during the Weimar Republic. Because if you cut social budgets in this way, you are just pushing the problem onto other budgets. And that will be the towns and cities again, who else?"
Italian Government Crisis Can Unleash Financial Crisis
Aug. 19 (EIRNS)Starting Sept. 8, when the Italian Parliament reconvenes, the final countdown for a government crisis officially starts. The question is no longer whether there will be a crisis, but whether the British-linked financier crowd will succeed in replacing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, or whether he forces President Giorgio Napolitano to call early elections.
The crisis occurs at the same time that the system is undergoing a financial chain-reaction collapse and that, between the end of August and December, Italy must refinance EU160 billion in state debt. In normal circumstances, this would not be a problem; half of this debt is owned by Italians. However, it has already been announced that financial markets will exploit the government crisis to unleash a speculative attack. In a short time, yields on Italian bonds could shoot up towards Greek levels.
The first test will be on Aug. 26, when Italy will sell six-month bonds; on Aug. 30, ten-year notes will be auctioned.
Greek Economic Collapse Spurs Public Revolt
Aug. 18 (EIRNS)The devastation being caused in Greece by the EU/IMF-imposed hyperinflation/austerity program for Europe was elaborated on the Der Spiegel website today.
"Collapse of the Greek economy," is the headline of the article, which reports that "shops are closing, unemployment in some regions is climbing up to 70%: in Greece, the whole scope of the crisis is only now becoming evident. The radical austerity package of the government is pushing the economy into a deep recession, even brave family fathers are threatening a revolt."
Mass strike ferment is building, going beyond the labor unions, which are viewed as too soft by many Greeks, as others become radicalized and threaten to take to the streets.
Greece is expected to go through a very hot Autumn, the article says.
German Industry Begins Pro-Nuclear Ad Blitz
Aug. 20 (EIRNS)Announcing a national advertising campaign for Germany's re-entry into nuclear power development, 40 leading industry managers and several senior politicians are calling on the government to repeal the anti-nuclear laws passed 10 years ago. They denounce the envisaged tax on nuclear fuels as detrimental to the efficiency of the German energy sector, and to the industry and its workforce.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet with the heads of E.ON and RWE, Germany's two biggest power producers, at the Emsland nuclear plant in northwestern Germany on Aug. 26. In a preview to that meeting, the VIK, the association of power producers, wants Merkel to know that "sustaining Germany's economic recovery depends on reliable, affordable power."
All-Party Coalition Says Re-Open Kelly Case
Aug. 15 (EIRNS)On Aug. 13, a group of 13 leading doctors and coroners presented evidence to Britain's new Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, that WMD expert Dr. David Kelly, who charged that the Blair government had "sexed up" the reports on Iraq's (non-existent) WMD program, could not have committed suicide in the manner indicated by the Hutton Commission cover-up. They called for re-opening the suppressed coroner's inquest which, unlike Lord Hutton's sideshow, would have subpoena power and require testimony under oath on penalty of perjury.
The doctors' group has presented significant new evidence to the new Attorney General from several new witnesses, as well as questioning the very hypothesis of suicide in this case.