Western European News Digest
Stability Mechanism Dictatorial Powers Exposed in Video
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)A short video produced by Abgeordneten-check.de, highlighting the dictatorial features of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) euro bailout fund, is creating turmoil in Germany. The video shows that, according to the ESM Treaty, 1) the ESM board can decide on its own to increase the EU700 billion fund; 2) that member-countries must forward the money requested by the ESM within seven days; and 3) that all ESM officials have immunity from any courts, governments, and parliaments in Europe. The video was sent to all parties in the German Parliament, and their responses were published yesterday by Die Welt. While the SPD refused to comment, the CDU and the Greens sent their responses: The CDU claimed that the video lied, and the Greens claimed that the German Parliament still has the final control over budget decisions.
Abgeordneten-check is a group that monitors how the members of parliament (Abgeordneten) vote on issues. They screened members on the euro bailout vote, with names and pictures and their stance. The group was formed by journalists, some of whom are well-established.
Schröder: Bury the Nation-State
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called for collapsing all European nations into a "United States of Europe." Schröder told Der Spiegel on Sept. 4, "The current crisis makes it relentlessly clear that we cannot have a common currency zone without a common fiscal, economic and social policy. We will have to give up national sovereignty."
EU Commissioner Calls for Occupation of Greece
Sept. 9 (EIRNS)The latest atrocity from the Brussels branch of the Empire appears has come in the form of remarks made by German EU Commissioner (for Energy) Günter Öttinger today, in the leading German mass-tabloid Bildzeitung. On the one hand, he categorically ruled out any exit of Greece from the Eurozone, and on the other hand, he said that the Greek government and administration was not doing its job in imposing austerity, and that the financial sanctions which the EU has so far demanded, are toothless. One should, he said, therefore think about "unconventional" measures, such as replacing parts of the Greek administration with EU officials who would not retreat in the face the Greek population's resistance, but force through budget cuts and the sale of state property.
Glass-Steagall Raised on German TV
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)On yesterday's popular Menschen bei Maischberger talk show on Germany's leading TV network, ARD, Glass-Steagall and Trennbanken (divided banks) were put on the table. The discussion theme was "The Euro, an Endless Horror." A few pro-euro speakers were invited, along with a young economist named Hans-Michael Voth, who not only called for Germany to leave the euro, and managed quite brilliantly to stand up to the euro-fanatics, but also put Glass-Steagall on the table. At one point, he said that the problem is that nothing has been done to regulate the financial markets, in contrast to the first global financial crisis. In 1933, he said the "Trennbanken" were introduced, the SEC was established, etc. Today, nothing has been done.
Voth also ridiculed the argument that if Germany left the euro, its exports would collapse. Yes, exports might suffer a bit, but this story of being world champions in exports looks like winning the race to the cemetery.
Greek Indignados Hold Rally in Syntagma Square
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)The Greek "Indignados of Syntagma Square" launched their Fall action campaign with a rally of 5,000 people in Syntagma Square in front of the Greek Parliament on Sept. 3, virtually blacked out of the press. "We started indignant, we are continuing determined, and soon we shall return en masse for those who have led us here to leave," they said in an announcement.
A short report in Athens News fails to mention how many people attended on Saturday evening. There is no coverage at all in the international media.
The indignados in Thessaloniki are also scheduling rallies for Sept. 10 in the streets around the Thessaloniki International Fair, (TIF) where Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to make an important speech. This is a big event where all leading political figures attend, and the rally is aimed at impacting it.
General Strike Shakes Italy
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)On Sept. 6, millions of workers paralyzed more than 100 cities in Italy, in a general strike organized by the CGIL, the largest labor union federation, with 6 million members. The strike was carried out in protest against the EU45 billion budget cuts labelled as "deeply unjust, uncivilized, and useless" and "made against the workers." According to organizers, worker adherence to the strike was around 58%, up to 70% in transportation, and about 70% of factory workers around Milan.
Because the printing trades adhered to the strike, Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading newspaper, did not print today. Hundreds of flights and trains have been cancelled throughout the peninsula, and traffic jams have paralyzed major cities. The strike also caused major inconvenience for citizens in public administration offices, hospitals, kindergartens, and public services in general.
The two conservative union federations CISL and UIL did not join the strike, revealing a growing split in the trade union movement.
Merkel's Support Continues To Erode
Sept. 5 (EIRNS)German Chancellor Merkel, who continues to pretend she can bring the sinking Titanic, otherwise called the "euro," up again, may herself be sunk sooner than she expects: She got a huge slap in the face, with the drastic loss of votes from Christian Democrats (CDU) in her home state of Mecklenburg-Prepomerania, in the state parliament elections there Sunday: The CDU there dropped from 31% (2006) to 23%, a net loss of almost 25% from the votes it received five years ago. Also the FDP, Merkel's minor coalition partner, lost heavily in Mecklenburg, plummeting from 8.6% (2006) to now 2.7%, which gets it thrown out of the state parliament. And the Greens for the first time ever were voted into the Landtag.
Most telling about the sentiments of voters may be the fact that only 52% of the Mecklenburgers went to cast votes this time, an absolute low, a "vote of the feet" against Merkel's policies.
Prince Charles Identifies Himself as an 'Endangered Species'
Sept. 9 (EIRNS)Taking over as the next president of the World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF) on Sept. 8, Britain's Prince Charles Mountbatten said: "We are, of course, witnessing what some people call the sixth great extinction eventthe continued erosion of much of the Earth's vital biodiversity caused by a whole host of pressures, from the rising demand for land to the corrosive effects of all kinds of pollution."
Referring to himself as an endangered species, Charles warned that the world is already in the sixth extinction event, with species dying out at a much faster rate than at any time since the death of most of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.