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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More