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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid