"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

European Fishermen fight for their Lives Against the European Commission Free-Trade Malthusianism

As the European ministers of Agriculture and Fishing were meeting in Slovenia, pressing the European Union to unblock aid measures to help the professions stricken by the huge increases in oil prices, fishermen, farmers and other professions were escalating their protest actions throughout Europe.

In France, the Mediterranean ports decided to renew their strike for an undetermined period after meeting in the port city of Sete. Among the issues discussed at this meeting, the possibility of joining hands with the Italian and Spanish fishermen demanding also not to pay more than EU40 cents a liter for fuel.

In the Cotentin, Normandy, 71% of the fishermen renewed the strike. In the Brittany area, more commando operations have been noted. Some 150 fishermen took over two gas stations between Lorient and Quimper, and distributed free gas throughout yesterday afternoon, totalling 30,000 liters. Other gas depots were blocked between the Norman port of Dunkirk, to Fos sur Mer, near Marseille. In Quimper, Brittany, 3 supermarkets selling frozen fish were taken over by commandoes, who threw it out or distributed it to passersby. In Spain, the largest fishing entrepreneurs organization, the Cepesca, called for an unlimited strike starting next Friday. The European demonstration in Brussels was pushed to end of next week.

In spite of this mass movement, the European ministers meeting in Slovenia are merely begging for permission from the EU bureaucracy to grant some very short-term aid to these professions. Michel Barnier, supported by Italy and Germany, is pressuring the EU to both give direct aid to them, as well as to raise the ceiling of assistance the states are allowed to give to stricken professions as "individual social aid," beyond the current ceiling of EU30,000 euros during a three year period.

However, the EU free-trade Malthusians are blocking even that aid. According to Ouest France, a very large regional paper covering much of the area concerned by the strikes, "The Commission has been trying for years to limit subsidies to that sector chronically in crisis, and it is pleading once again for a restructuring of the sector based on a REDUCTION of the fishing fleets"!

Meanwhile, Nicolas Sarkozy announced yesterday on a private radio with a nationwide audience, RTL, that the State will increase social assistance to 700,000 non-tax-paying families who are consumers of fuel. A EU150 aid granted for each tank of fuel bought, will be raised to EU200 euros. This money will be coming from the VAT [value-added tax] on oil products, which has massively increased in recent months due to the oil price rise. To underscore once again the urgent need to rid Europe of the Brussels Commission, member states cannot at this point decide to reduce the VAT on oil products which increases with the prices, because only the EU Commission can decide on that!