CPGB-ML » Posts for tag 'Europe'

Developments in Europe

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October


China has stepped in to provide assistance to Belarus in its current embarrassed financial situation. It will be lending the country $1bn in exchange for preferences for Chinese companies in acquiring shares in Belarusian industrial facilities.

China is already a major investor in the Belarusian economy, with $15bn invested there by Chinese banks over the last two years alone.


Results in Germany’s regional election on 5 September in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have come as something of a shock to the bourgeoisie.

As a government in power during a recession, it is hardly surprising that the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats who are the coalition partners in that government both suffered seriously, with the former slipping 5.7 percentage points to 23.1 percent while the latter have lost all representation in the state assembly as a result of failing to muster even 5 percent of the vote.

The Social Democrats took 35.7 percent of the vote (gaining 5.5 percentage points), the Greens 8.5 percent (a gain of 5 percentage points) while the leftist Die Linke took 18.4 percent.

As a gauge of the preparedness of the working class, this election result is encouraging insofar as it indicates a growing understanding among a significant minority of the regional electorate that it is capitalism, rather than mismanagement by this or that party, which is responsible for the problems that they are suffering.


Greece has increased VAT from 13 percent to 23 percent. Café and restaurant owners, who have already suffered a 20-40 percent decline in business as austerity measures bite, are simply refusing to pay, following a resolution at an extraordinary general assembly of the Pan Hellenic Federation of Restaurants and Related Professions, which represents over 15,000 hospitality outlets.

On 22 September, Athens was brought to a halt by yet another massive mobilisation. This was against fresh austerity proposals that will see the government slashing pensions and public sector salaries.


Iconic Swedish car manufacturer Saab has been forced to file for protection from creditors.

The Saab factory in Trollhattan, southwestern Sweden, has been at a standstill for most of the year as the company struggles to pay suppliers. Since June it hasn’t been able to pay many of its 3,700 workers on time, testing the patience of labour unions, who have threatened to put the company in bankruptcy.” (‘Saab owner, Swedish Automobile, files for creditor protection’, Daily Telegraph, 8 September 2011)

In filing for protection the company was hoping to Dily hold out for long enough for Chinese investors to come to the rescue. While the court initially refused the application, this was overturned on appeal to allow the company to be rescued by its Chinese white knights.

Chief executive Victor Muller insists he can turn the company around as soon as it receives €245m ($335m) in cash injections from Chinese investors Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. The Chinese authorities, however, have not yet approved those deals. company around as soon as it receives €245m ($335m) in cash injections from Chinese investors Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. The Chinese authorities, however, have not yet approved those deals.

European court removes Sison from EU terrorist blacklist

Press release from the international DEFEND committee

The European Court of First Instance (ECFI) annulled yesterday all decisions and a regulation of the Council of the European Union (EU) that had maintained Prof Jose Maria Sison in its so-called terrorist blacklist.

The removal of the name of Prof Sison from the blacklist is the essence or main point of the ECFI judgment on Case T-341/07 of Prof Sison against the Council of EU. It directly unfreezes Sison’s funds in his small bank account and allows him to engage in financial dealings like any ordinary person.

To annul the acts of the Council in blacklisting Prof Sison and freezing his account, the ECFI ruled that the national decisions done in The Netherlands and relied upon by the Council did not relate to the instigation of investigations or prosecution or to a conviction for terrorist activity, contrary to the requirements of European Community Law.

Aside from unfreezing the funds of Prof Sison, the ECFI judgment opens the way for him to assert and enjoy all his rights that have been restricted or suppressed due to the false charge of terrorism.  He can benefit from the judgment in the following ways:

1. To claim back the social payments for living allowance, housing, health insurance and old age pension which have been withdrawn from him since 2002;

2. To seek gainful employment or render professional services with remuneration;

3. To secure legal admission as a refugee and a residence permit;

4. To travel freely without restrictions;

5. To be free from being labelled and stigmatized as a terrorist; and

6. To claim moral and material damages for what he has suffered since 2002.

The International DEFEND Committee is calling on all its adherents, supporters and friends to celebrate the legal victory of Prof Jose Maria Sison in the European Court and at the same time to become more determined than ever before in demanding that the Dutch government and Council of the EU change their hostile policy towards him.
The Dutch government and the Council of the EU must   cease and desist from being the vehicles of false charges and tools of persecution of the US and Philippine governments against Prof. Jose Maria Sison.  He must be  allowed and encouraged to act freely and fruitfully  as the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

For reference please contact:
Ruth de Leon
International Coordinator-Committee DEFEND
Telephone:  00-31-30-8895306
Email: defenddemrights@yahoo.com

Six-year-olds fingerprinted by Britain

Via The Guardian

Under the banner of the EU, and without parliament’s consent, the Home Office is taking data from children entering the UK.

Two months ago, the UK Borders Agency began fingerprinting foreign
children over six years old, from outside the European Economic Area and resident in Britain. At the time Jacqui Smith was congratulated for her tough line on issuing identity cards to foreign residents and no one, not even parliament, noticed that the biometric requirements applied to children of six. And parliament didn’t know because it was never asked to approve the policy.

Nowhere in the world are you more powerless than at a border. As a foreigner you also enjoy far fewer rights than locals. Do you think these children or their parents dare to speak up against the bureaucracy of the UK Borders Agency? In fact, no one has called the Borders Agency to account. Home Office officials I have talked to outside the agency were shocked that official government policy is now to fingerprint children.

When asked why (question 226407), the Home Office itself offers a much more solid defence: that the EU requires it. What it does not admit is that the British government is almost alone in pushing the EU to ensure that the age when fingerprinting can start is so low. Home Office officials pushed the EU to establish a standard age of six, despite opposition within other European governments. The next time you hear a government official support the EU, it is not just because it is a vehicle for “peace, prosperity and freedom”, but also because it is a vehicle to push through policies that the UK government would prefer not to pursue through the legislature at home.

The Bush administration rejected the contemplation of fingerprinting children, even within the controversial US-VISIT program that fingerprints visitors to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security is prohibited from fingerprinting children under 14, though it may well consider lowering it.

The Bush administration and the UK government have both pushed bad
policies through international bodies over the last eight years. The UN was compelled by the UK and the US to adopt shared standards to monitor foreigners and travellers around the world. In turn, when the government wanted to justify ID cards, it pointed to the international obligations to adopt biometric passports. When it collects information about British citizens’ travel habits, it will use “international standards” as a justification.

The bitter irony is that when the Bush administration tried to do exactly what these international standards propose – through collecting all travel information and other data about individuals to develop a risk score that they cannot correct – there was international condemnation. When the UK government wants to push exactly the same measures, and in fact collect even more data than the US, there is absolute silence because everyone in Britain thinks the UK government is just following international obligations.

Even if the Obama administration reverses course on treating entire populations as suspected criminals, the UK government will continue to hawk bad surveillance policy. Yet some of its most invasive practices and plans will never be reviewed by parliament. Just as Britons are powerless at the border of another country, they are also powerless within their own country.

Paradoxically, the European parliament pushed back against the European governments’ attempts to lower the fingerprinting age of citizens for their passports to six years old. Instead, the European parliament gained a “victory” recently by getting the standard raised to 12. So now the EU is requiring that teenagers across the EU be fingerprinted for their passports. Indeed, the UK government will now probably argue that it has to follow suit. The government has promised, however, that ID cards (which are based on passports, which are in turn based on EU “obligations”) would only be issued to people aged 16 or over. Will that pledge hold? Or will the fact that foreign residents in Britain have been forced to accept it and international standards, of course, be used as an excuse to issue children with compulsory ID?