Western European News Digest
No More Surprises, G-20 Wants Control of Greece
Nov. 5 (EIRNS)The order given to Prime Minister George Papandreou by Greece's "partners" from the G20 and the Eurozone is to put an end to the last remnants of sovereignty and surrender the country to the international financial oligarchy.
After barely winning a no-confidence vote, again with only the support of his PASOK party, Papandreou is now determined to force the main opposition party, New Democracy (ND), to join his government, in order to pass all the requirements demanded of Greece for the EU130 billion bailout to "save the euro." He is brandishing the Eurogroup's threat to kick Greece out of the Eurozone and even the European Union.
As of this morning, not all opposition parties are willing to enter a coalition, including the ND, the ultra-conservative Laos, which has 16 MPs, and especially the Communists and the Coalition of the Radical Left.
All the parties fear having to leave the euro or being thrown out of the EU, while none has put forward a viable alternative policy.
German Physicians Group Warns Against U.S.-U.K.-Israel War
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)The German branch of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) issued an urgent call to the German government to talk the governments of the United States, Britain, and Israel out of any plans for an attack on Iran and to refrain from threats of war. The statement calls for nonviolent diplomacy, and a regionwide roundtable for Southwest Asia to discuss problems, modelled on the late-20th-Century Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
"In all three countries where an attack on Iran is seriously being discussed, there is great unrest about the economic situation and social injustice. Do these governments want to seek an escape into belligerent adventures?" asked Matthias Jochheim, chairman of the German IPPNW. "The situation resembles the prelude to the Iraq War, when there were allegations that Iraq posed an immense threat. Afterwards, it turned out that this was a fabricated story. We should learn a lesson from history."
Ireland's Adams Leads Walk-Out Against EU700M 'Handover'
Nov. 3 (EIRNS)Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams led a walkout of Sinn Fein and Independent deputies from the Dáil (parliament) on Nov. 2, after the Fine Gael/Labour government coalition failed to stop the handover of EU700 million to the senior bondholders of the failed "bad bank," Anglo Irish Bank Corp., now the Irish Bank Resolution Corp.
Adams said: "At 12 noon today, the government facilitated the handover of [EU]700 million of taxpayers' money to an unguaranteed, unsecured senior bondholder in Anglo Irish Bank. The government refused to convene the Dáil today to allow the opposition to have their say on this issue and today they wilfully frustrated a debate. It is nothing short of a scandal that the government is allowing this handover to happen. Particularly at a time when they are planning to implement yet another austerity budget that will affect thousands of hard-pressed people."
More Pro-Referendum Talk in Germany
Nov. 3 (EIRNS)Partly sparked by calls for a Greek referendum on the euro bailout package, the proposal for a referendum in Germanyfirst called for by the LaRouche movement thereis now gaining momentum. With a front-page banner headline, "Mrs. Merkel, We Want a Referendum, Too," the country's leading mass-circulation daily Bildzeitung today wrote that if Greece gets a referendum on the euro issue, Germany should have one as well. The article quotes Alexander Dobrindt, general secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party, who called yesterday for "important European issues" to be presented for referendum in the future. A similar call was made by Social Democratic chairman Sigmar Gabriel a couple of days ago.
Today, the Ecological-Democratic Party of Germany (OEDP), a moderate-conservative party, which has seats in numerous city councils, called for Germany to have a referendum. Policymaking is taking place and decisions are being made more and more over the heads of the people, the OEDP said. That must change so that the people have a say on important issues. The OEDP opposed the EU's Lisbon Treaty three years ago.
Civil Disobedience Spreading in Greece
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)Civil disobedience protests are continuing through Greece as cuts and unemployment deepen. Following the protest events on Oct. 28 during the national day commemorating Greece's entry into World War II, demonstrators targeted a meeting of the Special Committee of the Socialist International for the Arab World at Agios Nikolaos on Crete on Oct. 29. Prime Minister George Papandreou was present at the meeting and protesters blocked access to the area and prevented local deputies, mayors, and members of his PASOK party from entering the hotel.
There is a mass campaign to sabotage the government's plan to collect the draconian property tax via the electricity bills under threat of cutting of electricity to those not paying. "We are not going to the government's dirty work," said Nikos Fotopoulos, who heads the union. "Electricity is a social commodity, not a means to collect taxes. We will do everything to ensure that unemployed people, poor people do not have their electricity cut."
Bank Exodus from Eurozone Debt Quickens
Nov. 4 (EIRNS)Banks, including BNP Paribas and ING, are getting rid of billions of euros in Eurozone government bonds. BNP Paribas announced it lost EU362 million in the third quarter, through sales of almost EU25 billion of sovereign debt, or a quarter of its holdings, reducing its Italian bonds by EU8.2 billion, to EU12.6 billion, in just four months. It also cut back on EU2.2 billion in Spanish sovereign bonds (leaving EU0.5 billion), reduced its French debt holding by EU1 billion (leaving EU13.8 billion) and its German debt by EU1.4 billion (leaving EU2.5 billion).
The Dutch financial group ING said yesterday, that it had cut its Greek, Italian, Irish, Portuguese, and Spanish sovereign bond holdings by EU5.4 billion, also in the last four months.
State Finance Minister of Bavaria Resigns
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)The sudden announcement by Georg Fahrenschon, the finance minister of the German state of Bavaria, has caused some turmoil, not only in that state. Although it has been known for some time that people at the German savings banks association wanted him for their new president, he has not said a word about it. It cannot be ruled out that his decision to quit the ministry and run as a candidate for the savings banks presidency now, has to do with his support for a two-tier banking system: He was among the first prominent Germans to call for such a Glass-Steagall-style reform, about a week ago.