News / Europe

Shrinking EU Economies Deepen Austerity Divisions

Shrinking Economies Turn Tide Against Austerity in Europei
X
April 26, 2013 9:00 PM
France and Spain have revealed record unemployment figures as the economic crisis in Europe shows little sign of ending. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the relentless cycle of poor economic data appears to be turning the tide of opinion in Europe against the austerity measures that were imposed to rein in government debt.

Relentless cycle of poor economic output may be turning tide of opinion against European austerity measures.

Henry Ridgwell
— Alongside Germany, France has been in the driving seat of European integration, but figures released Thursday show over 3.2 million French are jobless, and further cuts are looming.
 
Carmaker Citroen announced the closure of its factory in Aulnay-sous-Bois outside Paris, and Steel giant ArcelorMittal has begun mothballing furnaces.
 
In contrast, the biggest hiring announcement came from the national employment agency, Pole Emploi.
 
"GDP declined approximately 1 percent since the financial crisis started in 2008," said Philippe Brossard of investment group AG2R La Mondiale, adding that employment is declining at approximately the pace of GDP.
 
With both France and Spain revealing record unemployment figures, and a European economic crisis that shows little sign of ending, the relentless cycle of poor economic data appears to be turning the tide of opinion in Europe against the very austerity measures that were imposed to rein in government debt.
 
But the lack of growth has divided opinion: French President Francois Hollande — backed by many southern European leaders and the International Monetary Fund — blames excessive austerity, or government spending cuts, for the continent's economic stagnation, while German and European Central Bank (ECB) officials say governments must continue to pay down their debts.
 
Amid anti-austerity protests across the continent, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said this week that austerity had reached its limit of popular support, a view echoed by Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs.
 
"This slowing down of the pace of fiscal consolidation has been made possible by three factors: first, the increased credibility of fiscal policy which euro-area member states have achieved since 2011; second, the decisive action the ECB has taken to stabilize markets; and third, the reform of EU economic governance."
 
Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Center for European Reform, a London-based think-tank, there is a growing acceptance that austerity hasn't worked.
 
"Lots of European countries are chasing their tails," he said. "They are cutting public spending at a time when businesses are not investing, and consumers are not consuming."
 
An easing of austerity does not mean a sudden change in big government spending, says Tobias Blattner, chief European economist at Daiwa Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of Japanese brokerage Daiwa Securities Group.
 
"Everybody still wants and thinks that fiscal consolidation should be the aim and is exactly the right policy," he said. "But I think, as the European Commission president said, this should be done at a much slower pace in order to ensure social cohesion."
 
Meanwhile, Spain's unemployment figures have reached more than six million, over 27 percent of the workforce — the highest since the country's transition to democracy in 1976.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
April 27, 2013 10:55 AM
The poor economic situation, in the EU, extends beyond just Spain and France, all the Mediteranean countries and Eastern block countries are seeing rapid declines. Portugal, Ireland, even the UK are also experiencing declines. All these countries are producers that are not competitive with the global level producers. In the EU, when all the internal markets were opened, Germany one of the global level producers rapidly deciminated the producers in the smaller EU countries. Most of those smaller producers were geared for supplying the internal makets of their own countries; they were less efficent and did not produce massive outputs. The smaller countries, upon joining the EU did not prepare for the onslaught of cheaper goods produced mainly by Germany. Small industries, like nascent car, machinery, shipbuilding, railroad equipment, electrical machinery, test equipment, milk, cheese, other foods, even the small farms businesses, rapidly lost their markets. Such loss of markets has created massive unemployment. All the good employment has evaporated. In most cases, people will need to move to Germany to get good paying jobs. When markets are opened, the global level producers can easily outcompete the small producers, creating massive social problems, as we see in the EU, and even in North America. This economic model is a failure, that will lead to cathastrophic unrest all over the globe, because of massive unemployment, especially amongs the youth. Greed rather than social responsibility runs this failed model. If production is not shared, just like markets are shared, many countries will collapse, and lead to/into civil wars.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid