Western European News Digest
Euro Bailout Will Bleed Taxpayers to Death
Aug. 2 (EIRNS)The Eurozone bailout, German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted a few days ago during a CDU party event in Ulm, "will cost the taxpayer some money, but it is worth the cost, because it helps Europe." The truth is, it will be more than costly, and help no one.
Kai Konrad, managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, and Holger Zschaepitz, a senior columnist at the conservative daily Die Welt, calculate in a new report that the required bailout would exceed the total budget of the 17 Eurozone member governments by far, and reach the horrendous amount of roughly EU74 billion to be paid annually by the Germans alone. Calculated over 10 years, this adds up to EU740 billion. This kind of transfer union, Konrad and Zschaepitz write with a certain understatement, would be "neither economically nor politically feasible nor a desirable prospect." As a matter of fact, it would bleed the German taxpayers, and those of the other net payers among the Eurozone states, to death.
Guarino: EU Budget Policy Violates Treaty
Aug. 3 (EIRNS)The current binding EU decision, that Euro member-states must eliminate their budget deficit by the end of 2014, violates the EU Law itself. This is stated in a new book-length essay entitled "Imperfect Europe," soon to be published by Italian constitutional expert Giuseppe Guarino.
In the essay, Guarino states that the current policy has a juridical basis in EU Regulation 1466/97 (from July 1998), which was then superceded by Art. 104 of the EU (Lisbon) Treaty, Protocol 5. Article 104 "not only considers a 3% deficit as acceptable, but goes further and admits that such a limit could be passed if the ratio remains close to the reference value, and the deviation is due to exceptional and temporary causes.
"A balanced budget [deficit] is therefore not mandated by the Treaty. It is a decision which violates the Treaty."
Euro Panic Hits Swiss National Bank
Aug. 3 (EIRNS)There has been an increasing flight from the euro into the Swiss franc, believed to be a safe haven for investors, which has driven the value of the franc to almost equal that of the euro. The SNB reacted with a panic of its own Aug. 2, drastically lowering the interest rate from 0.75 to 0.25%, adding that it would try to bring the rate "close to zero," and furthermore announcing that it would visibly increase liquidity supply over the near future.
Italian Economist Calls for Dissolving Euro
Aug. 6 (EIRNS)Whereas most Italian media and politicians are calling for more European dictatorship, an important signal came from Claudio Borghi, an economics professor at the Catholic University in Milan, who published an article in Il GIornale discussing how a conversion from the Euro back to a national currency is convenient and possible.
Either the entire European debt is fully guaranteed, "or the euro must be dissolved through the immediate return to national currencies," he wrote.
Instead of discussing stop-gap measures, the Italian government "must call European partners and have the guts to pose a direct question: Shall we guarantee the debt as we guaranteed banks in 2008? Yes (and if yes, on what conditions), or no? If the answer is no, we must cancel holidays for the Banca d'Italia and get prepared immediately for the new lira."
Greek 'Indignados' Form Political Committee
Aug. 4 (EIRNS)As noted by a correspondent of the Irish Times, by the end of June the Greek "Indignants" had taken their movement a step further with the foundation of the Unified Popular Front (UPF), supported by at least 100,000 signators. The UPF's raison d'être is, principally, the lack of concern on the part of government and the international financial powers for ordinary citizens trying to live "a minimally decent life," as the UPF's founding document puts it. "Anti-social measures overturn domestic and personal planning, thrusting people into poverty, unemployment and misery," it says.
"Beyond that is the issue of national sovereignty," the article says. "Greek working people face the prospect not just of losing their jobs, pensions, and rights but also losing their country. The UPF calls for repudiation of Greece's debts and of its undertakings to the IMF, ECB, and EU; exit from the Eurozone; 'reframing' of Greece's relations with the EU; reinstatement of the drachma; prosecution of those responsible for 'misappropriation of public funds'; and a people-focused democracy with a new constitution."
Movisol Exposes Hitler-Like 'Emergency Powers'
Aug. 5 (EIRNS)Roberto Ortelli of Radio Padania interviewed Liliana Gorini and Andrew Spannaus, chairwoman and secretary, respectively, of the Italian LaRouche movement Movisol, for one and a half hours today. Gorini exposed the dictatorial imposition of a "balanced budget" in the Italian Constitution (demanded by the ECB), comparing it to the Hitler-like "emergency powers measures" denounced by Lyndon LaRouche in the LPAC-TV Weekly Report of Aug. 3, in the context of the "act of treason" committed by Obama and the U.S. Congress.
Spannaus stressed that the crisis is the manifestation of the collapse of a system based on financial speculation and looting of the population, where massive austerity is used to support an ever-increasing debt bubble, that is produced by the market and then foisted onto the state.
Prince Charles Is a 'Snake-Oil Salesman'
Aug. 4 (EIRNS)A leading researcher in complementary and alternative medicine at the University of Exeter called Prince Charles a "snake-oil salesman" at a press briefing in London last week. Prof. Edzard Ernst, who is retiring as head of the University of Exeter's complementary and alternative medicine center, said that Charles deserved that label for owning a company that sells "tincture of artichoke and dandelion that supposedly detoxifies the body."
German MP Likens Bernanke and Trichet to Drug Dealers
Aug. 2 (EIRNS)Commenting on the budget debate disaster in the U.S.A., Frank Schäffler, a leading figure in the anti-bailout camp in the national German parliament (but also a promoter of classic austerity policy), compared the U.S. Fed, the ECB, and other central banks to "drug dealers" who are flooding the markets with money as the drug barons flood the markets with dope. That, he warned, will destroy the global financial and currency system. He called for a special debt summit of the G-8, to put an end to this practice.