Western European News Digest
Beethoven's 9th Inspires Spain's 'Indignados'
June 19 (EIRNS)Across Spain today, in at least 100 cities, hundreds of thousands of "indignados" demonstrated peacefully against the banks and the decaying euro system. In Madrid, where an estimated 150,000 people marched from six different locations to the Plaza de Neptuno, a full orchestra and chorus performed Beethoven's 9th Symphony, to cap the day's events.
Indignants Gather in Athens Syntagma Square
June 20 (EIRNS)For the fourth consecutive Sunday in Athens' Syntagma Square, and the 26th consecutive day, Greeks have assembled to protest the Troika (IMF/EU/ECB)'s killer austerity. Athens News reports that there were 50,000 demonstrators, while an eyewitness put the number of people at 70,000.
Greek workers and the Indignants are planning mass action to stop the passing of the "interim program" of brutal austerity measures demanded by the Troika, which will be presented for a vote in Greece's Parliament on June 29.
The Indignants are planning a mass demonstration once again at Syntagma Square on June 28, with delegations from across the country participating. This week one delegation hiking from Sparta, over 200 km away, arrived in Syntagma Square in Athens.
EU Commission Cuts Food Aid to Europe's Poorest
June 22 (EIRNS)The European Commission went ahead on June 20 with cutting subsidies for food aid to the poorest by close to 80%, slashing around EU500 million a year to a mere EU113 million!
European charities and food banks are in an uproar. Many of them depend on the EU subsidy for up to half of their income. Consequently, according to food banks, the cuts decided on, will starve at least 2 million Europeans. In France, EU subsidies for food banks will drop from EU78 million to EU15.9 million.
Speaking at the EU Parliament, Belgian Socialist Marc Tarabella denounced EU President José Manuel Barroso's decision not to appeal the court decision: "When you know that 43 million Europeans are faced with food poverty and 80 million of them live below poverty level, we can say this is a real catastrophe. How bitter is it to see that when the issue is to help the banks and the financial sector, the cash is easily found, while if the issue is to support the people, the ordinary citizen, the guy having difficulties at the end of every month, then the money isn't there!"
Italian Foreign Minister Calls for Halt in Libyan War
June 22 (EIRNS)Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has called for an immediate halt in the war on Libya. Speaking to a committee of the Italian parliament on June 22, Frattini said, "I believe an immediate humanitarian suspension of hostilities is required in order to create effective humanitarian corridors," reported Agence France Press.
Frattini denounced "the dramatic errors that hit civilians, which is clearly not an objective of the NATO mission," adding, "I think this is the most urgent and dramatic point ... [and] it is legitimate to request ever more detailed information on the results" of the NATO mission.
Frattini's statement was immediately countered by Britain and France, with French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero saying the coalition must intensify the pressure on Qadaffi, because any pause in operations would allow him to gain time and reorganize.
CDU Party Base Fights Back on Nuclear Issue
June 23 (EIRNS)The CDU, in Biblis, Hesse, whose 1,200-MW nuclear power plant would be shut down if Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreclosure program should be enacted, has finally chosen to protest. Hans-Michael Platz, chairman of the CDU group in the Biblis town council, wrote via Twitter June 21 that "with Merkel, the CDU has become the biggest turncoat since Krenz." The reference is to Egon Krenz's takeover of East Germany's ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) in October 1989, promising "reforms" in an attempt to calm the mass protest rallies in Leipzig and other East German cities then; these soon proved to be an empty promise and a pack of lies, and Krenz had to quit a couple of weeks later.
When Hessen Radio asked the next day about this attack on Merkel, the first German Chancellor to have grown up in the East, Platz said he is sticking to his words; the shift on nuclear power has so enraged him, that he is thinking of resigning his CDU party membership.
Regional pro-nuclear demonstrations are planned at nuclear plant sites in Germany, on July 3. Before that, an all-day vigil and demonstration by a "pro-nuclear initiative" will take place in Berlin on June 30, the day when the Bundestag votes on the nuclear exit; the upper house, the Bundesrat, is scheduled to vote on July 8.
German ARD Exposes WWF Biofuels Program
June 24 (EIRNS)The first channel of German television ARD aired a documentary on the World Wildlife Fund June 22, which has an explosive potential in the German situation. The WWF tried to stop the broadcast with legal means, and obtained some "corrections" to the script. Nonetheless, the program aired, albeit late at night.
The program includes a section on the oligarchical origins of the WWF, which could have been lifted from LaRouche publications: Prince Philip, Prince Bernhard, the Club 1001, HSBC, how Prince Bernhard paid British SAS death-squads in Africa, etc.
The video has been put on Youtube.
Turbine Collapses in German Wind Park
June 23 (EIRNS)A serious incident occurred at the beginning of this week in the German state of Hesse, when a huge wind turbine near the village of Kirtorf, in Vogelsberg County, collapsed. The entire, 62-meter rotor with its three blades crashed into a transformer station 100 meters away and destroyed it entirely. This cut off three other wind turbines that are part of this park, from the grid as well. There is evidence that the very strong winds that have been blowing in the region for the past several days, were too much for the turbines. The damage is estimated at EU1 million.
Greens Plan Riots To Stop Stuttgart 21 Rail Project
June 22 (EIRNS)After their usual Monday protest rally of 3,000, a group of several hundred crazed greenies stormed the Stuttgart 21 railway construction site, and occupied trees, cut cables, and destroyed construction material worth several million euros.
Police were called in, faced with heavy rioting; one policeman was seriously injured, and eight others received injuries as well.