Western European News Digest
EU Summit: A Bankrupt EU Tries to Save Itself
PARIS, Oct. 28 (EIRNS) A two-day EU summit of chiefs of state and heads of government began in Brussels today. The main issue is to define a "permanent crisis mechanism" capable of "rescuing" bankrupt member-states without provoking the collapse of the entire Eurozone. Therefore, budget rules and default procedures are on the table.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other monetarists, under pressure from her Liberal Party coalition partner, are calling for a highly improbable rewrite of the Lisbon Treaty, especially to eliminate its "no bailout" clause, which makes bailouts illegal. Today, heads of state, the EU Parliament, and the EU Commission strongly disagree on this issue.
The Commission is very reluctant to change a treaty that went into operation only one year ago and took ten years to be ratified by the 27 member-states, via referenda and votes in each national parliament. Any change in the treaty would mean going once again through the entire process.
The EU Parliament, in order to avoid a rewrite of the treaties, could convoke a convention or organize an inter-governmental summit with a limited mandate, as called for by Berlin and Paris. The EU Parliament wants even more severe criteria for the Stability Pact, a position welcomed by Merkel, who told the German Bundestag Oct. 27, that the two questions were "a single package."
French Strikers Charge Sarkozy with Creating a 'Climate Of Tension'
PARIS, Oct. 28 (EIRNS)After French President Nicolas Sarkozy's retirement reform law was rammed through the Senate Oct. 19, it passed the French Assembly 336-233, Oct. 25. However, as long as the law is not implemented, as scheduled for mid-November, social protest keeps growing to scrap it entirely, or at least modify its application. The opposition announced that it will oppose the law at the French Constitutional Court. The reform aims to save money by raising the allowed retirement age from 60 to 62.
Today unions expect once again to bring millions into the street, the seventh time since the Summer. Two hundred sixty-nine rallies, strikes, and demonstrations will take over the country, both today and on Nov. 6. A new poll published today by Le Parisien indicates that 65% of the population backs the social protest.
On Oct. 27, Bernard Thibault, the head of the CGT union, in an interview with Libération, declared that he suspected the government of having organized secret police operations to discredit legitimate social protest. Earlier this week, the rail workers union denounced strange sabotage actions. On Oct. 25, a 40-kg piece of metal was put on the TGV high-speed train line connecting Paris with Bordeaux. Thibault said that back in 2007, during the strike against the railroad workers' pension reform, sabotage actions took place that were immediately blamed on the strikers.
French Financial Insider Sees Hyperinflation
PARIS, Oct. 26 (EIRNS)In a newly published book, $20,000 Billion: Chronicles of the American Madness, financial insider Edouard Tetreau, who recently called on French Radio BFM to reinstate Glass-Steagall-style banking regulations, estimates that worldwide hyperinflation is a 70% possibilitya "diabolical" scenario. Tetreau starts by lining up the figures of the worldwide debt pyramid, build up after years of financial deregulation. Without mentioning Lyndon LaRouche's policies and the possibility for organized orderly bankruptcy, Tetreau examines the oligarchy's scenarios to get rid of this insane debt.
After three silly scenarios, Tetreau gives his fourth scenario: global hyperinflation. Tetreau: "Why not print tomorrow a bank note with the face of Obama, or Sarah Palin, with the value $20 trillion, a small piece of paper, similar to the 2 billion reichsmark printed in 1923 which have I kept in my possession since I spent some time learning German. Repay one's debts with funny money. Here is the solution!"
German Anti-Nuclear Protests Orchestrated
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)The first group of 11 CASTOR containers for used nuclear fuel from German nuclear plants has been put on trains in La Hague, France (where the fuel is processed), and are on their way to the German storage site at Gorleben. By the time they arrive there, Oct. 29 or 30, the anti-nuclear movement has announced, massive protests in the region around Gorleben will be underway. The movement is planning protest actions in about 100 other German cities the same day. These actions serve as feeder events for a big rally in Gorleben, on Nov. 6, for which the group Campact and other organizers want to gather 50,000 people. More radical sections of the movement have announced that they will commit sabotage against the trains and the tracks. At the peak of the protests, about 15-16,000 policemen will be deployed, to protect the trains.
On Nov. 1, 70 rock singers, TV actors, and other "artists," will publish a signed statement against nuclear power in newspapers, and the national executives of the Green Party and the Linke have announced they are taking part in the Nov. 6 rally at Gorleben. The Greens have once again attacked the CDU-FDP government for its decision to extend the lifespan of Germany's existing 17 nuclear power plants by up to 14 years in some cases, charging the government with allowing the nuclear industry to produce an additional 5,000 tons of nuclear waste, which implies 500 additional CASTOR containers that have to be transported to La Hague, and then back to Germany. The Greens are threatening 25 more years of anti-nuclear protests, if necessary.
In spite of this noisy environment in the streets, the governing CDU-FDP coalition voted in favor of the government's decision to extend the licenses of existing nuclear power plants for up to 12 years. Motions by the three opposition partiesSPD, Greens, and Linkewere voted down.
Britain Moving Closer to Hyperinflationary 'QE'
Oct. 25 (EIRNS)The British government is coming closer to launching its hyperinflationary policy of "quantitative easing." The Office of National Statistics is due to release figures tomorrow demonstrating the worsening of the economy, all of which serves to justify the Bank of England turning on the printing presses at high gear. The figures are expected to show a collapse of what has been called "growth" over the past three quarters, while the property market is expected to "lurch downwards." The Independent writes that the news is "likely to concentrate minds ahead of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committees next move on 4 November ... where many expect it to announce another round of 'quantitative easing.'" This decision is slated to be made two days after the U.S. midterm elections.
Lucrative 'Crown Estate' Reverts to Royals
Oct. 25 (EIRNS)The British royal family's income is expected to increase by as much as £38 million through access to the revenues of the "Crown Estate," in return for giving up their £30 million government subsidy. The Crown Estate owns 107,000 hectares of prime agricultural land; vast holdings of prime real estate in London, said to be worth £6 billion; and over half (55%) of the coastline and all its resources out to the 12-mile limit, including off-shore oil and gas revenues, as well as monies from the proposed giant wind turbine "farm" at Aberdeen.