European Economy

A New Year’s sense of foreboding over the global economy

By Nick Beams, 30 December 2015

Economic developments in 2015 were dominated by intensifying recessionary trends throughout the world economy.

WTO buries Doha Round: Another rupture in the post-war order

By Nick Beams, 22 December 2015

The decision to end the Doha Round signifies the end of the multilateralism that formed a crucial foundation of post-World War II economic expansion.

A new tipping point in the global economic crisis

By Nick Beams, 10 December 2015

Corporate defaults are on the rise, not only in the energy sector hit by falling prices, but across the board.

Expansion of Russian-German Nord Stream pipeline exacerbates tensions within the European Union

By Clara Weiss, 9 December 2015

At the end of November, several Eastern European members of the EU urged the European Commission to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

BIS warns of sudden end to “uneasy” financial calm

By Nick Beams, 8 December 2015

Junk bonds are heading for their first losses since the global financial crisis, indicating the present stock market boom may be living on borrowed time.

UK government outlines unprecedented public spending cuts

By Julie Hyland, 26 November 2015

In just 10 years, from 2010 through 2020, government spending as a percentage of GDP is projected to fall by 10 percent, with disastrous consequences for millions of people.

Global markets cheer dismal economic figures

By Andre Damon, 3 November 2015

Global stock markets are surging as negative economic news makes interest rate cuts by central banks more likely.

Deutsche Bank to cut up to 35,000 jobs

By Marianne Arens, 2 November 2015

The Ver.di trade union is cooperating with the Deutsche Bank management to lay off tens of thousands of workers.

Social crisis dominates municipal elections in Ukraine

By Markus Salzmann, 2 November 2015

Nearly 21 months after the coup that overthrew President Viktor Yanukovych the country is in social and economic free-fall.

Perplexity and gloom dominate IMF-World Bank meeting

By Nick Beams, 12 October 2015

A report issued on the eve of the IMF-World Bank meeting said that emerging market economies had over-borrowed by $3 trillion over the past decade.

Organizers promote economic nationalism at Berlin demonstration against transatlantic trade agreement

By our reporters, 12 October 2015

While many demonstrators sought to express opposition to inequality and war, the demonstration's organizers advanced a right-wing agenda of economic nationalism.

Syriza budget implements dictates of European banks

By Christoph Dreier, 6 October 2015

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that austerity was the “only way” out of the country’s crisis, declaring, “we have to tighten our belts.”

Global recessionary trends intensify

By Nick Beams, 1 October 2015

The crisis of mining giant Glencore, whose shares plunged by 30 percent this week, is only one expression of the slump gripping the global economy.

Thousands more jobs to go across all sectors in UK

By Margot Miller, 19 September 2015

Local authorities in the UK face more devastating cuts, after already having their budgets slashed to pay for the bailout of the super-rich following the 2008 economic crisis.

Seven years since the Wall Street crash

By Nick Beams, 15 September 2015

Seven years after the eruption of the crisis, financial parasitism has reached unprecedented heights while the global economy stagnates.

Global Ponzi scheme threatens to implode

By Andre Damon, 24 August 2015

The global stock market selloff reflects the inability of governments and central banks to address the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist system that led to the Wall Street crash of 2008–2009.

Global markets plunge amid signs of deepening slump

By Andre Damon, 21 August 2015

US stocks fell by the largest amount since February 2014, as fears of a world economic slowdown mixed with concerns over global exchange rate instability and geopolitical conflict.

World capitalism “toboggans toward catastrophe”

By Barry Grey, 19 August 2015

Seven years after the Wall Street crash, fears are growing within ruling circles internationally that the world capitalist economy is descending into depression.

German financial supervisor implicates Deutsche Bank in Libor manipulation

By Sven Heymanns, 28 July 2015

Anshu Jain, who recently resigned as co-chair of Deutsche Bank, was involved much more deeply in the manipulation of Libor than previously known.

A landslide “no” to EU austerity in Greece

By Alex Lantier, 6 July 2015

Yesterday’s “no” vote in Greece is a massive popular repudiation of the EU and the austerity agenda it has pursued across Europe since the 2008 economic crisis.

“Syriza disregarded the wishes of the Greek population”

Workers speak out against austerity in Greece

By Robert Stevens and Christoph Dreier, 1 July 2015

Workers interviewed by a WSWS reporting team in Athens, Greece, spoke out against austerity and attacks on democratic rights.

As global markets plummet

Bank closures impose deepening misery on Greek people

By Alex Lantier, 30 June 2015

Retirees were unable to obtain their pension benefits as a weeklong bank holiday began amid warnings of fuel and medicine shortages.

Syriza’s fraudulent capital controls

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2015

Billions of euros have been taken out of Greece by wealthy individuals and corporations in order to make a financial killing if the country goes back to the drachma.

Greek collapse, global turbulence loom as Syriza imposes capital controls

By Robert Stevens, 29 June 2015

The decision followed Sunday’s announcement by the European Central Bank that it would not increase its emergency funding for Greek banks.

Greek crisis comes to a head

By Alex Lantier, 29 June 2015

The decision of European financial authorities to terminate the bailout of Greece and limit the flow of credit to banks has brought the country to the brink of an economic and financial meltdown.

OECD report documents growth of financial parasitism

By Nick Beams, 29 June 2015

Financial parasitism is leading to the destruction of the productive forces upon which the livelihoods of the world working class depend.

Thousands of jobs lost in UK

By Margot Miller, 27 June 2015

Following the loss of 90,000 public-sector jobs in the last parliament, a further 100,000 jobs are set to go over the next five years.

Political issues in the Greek debt crisis

By Alex Lantier, 26 June 2015

Having built its entire policy around denying the possibility of socialist revolution, Syriza is proposing ever deeper attacks on the working class under the EU’s direction.

After Syriza’s concessions, EU demands more austerity at Greek debt summit

By Alex Lantier, 23 June 2015

While approving Syriza’s capitulation to its demands for deep cuts in pensions and health care, the EU called for further austerity measures as a precondition for a deal on Greek debt.

Syriza offers last-ditch concessions prior to EU summit on Greek debt

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2015

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras heads to the summit under the threat of a deliberately imposed economic catastrophe and expulsion from the eurozone.

EU threatens to push Greece into bankruptcy after collapse of debt talks

By Alex Lantier, 17 June 2015

Even as he denounced the EU, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras signaled that he is still seeking a deal on the basis of imposing more austerity on the Greek population.

IMF and ECB walk out of Greek debt talks with Syriza

By Robert Stevens, 13 June 2015

The talks centre on new austerity measures to be carried out by Syriza.

Mass layoffs in French nuclear energy industry threaten 6,000 jobs worldwide

By Anthony Torres, 10 June 2015

Electricité de France, which is acquiring nuclear energy firm Areva and threatening mass layoffs, is sitting on cash reserves of tens of billions of euros.

OECD cuts global growth forecast amid growing financial turbulence

By Nick Beams, 5 June 2015

The downgrade follows what the OECD called the worst quarter for global economic growth since the 2008 financial crash.

In Brussels talks, Greece moves closer to austerity deal with EU

By Robert Stevens and Alex Lantier, 4 June 2015

The Syriza-led government is trying to work out the details of its capitulation to the austerity program demanded by the European Union and the banks.

Surprise move by European Central Bank to speed up debt purchases

By Nick Beams, 20 May 2015

The accelerated ECB purchase of sovereign debt is another indication of increasing nervousness in global financial markets.

Siemens announces massive job cuts worldwide

By Dietmar Henning, 12 May 2015

The new job cuts were agreed upon between the trade union, works council and management.

Bond market sell-off signals mounting financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 8 May 2015

In the last two weeks an estimated $2 trillion has been wiped off share and bond markets.

Spain: Rebound in employment based on wage cuts and increased job insecurity

By James Lerner, 5 May 2015

More than 3.5 million jobs had been eliminated in Spain between 2008 and 2013.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

24 April 2015

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

IMF head Christine Lagarde praises UK for austerity measures

By Richard Tyler, 20 April 2015

Warnings by the IMF undermine claims by the Labour Party that it would achieve a balanced budget by 2020, should it win power on May 7.

Banking group HGAA stokes conflict between Vienna and Munich

By Markus Salzmann, 18 April 2015

The decision of the Austrian government to no longer pay the debts of banking group HGAA has provoked conflicts in Bavaria.

IMF loans $17 billion to Ukraine to repay banks, loot economy

By Alex Lantier, 13 March 2015

The International Monetary Fund formally signed off yesterday on a $17.5 billion, four-year loan to the far-right regime in Kiev.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 March 2015

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Danish government expands surveillance powers following Copenhagen shootings

By Jordan Shilton, 3 March 2015

Plans were already well advanced prior to the Copenhagen shootings to further undermine democratic rights, with only the appropriate pretext being required.

Stock markets rise after Greece signs new austerity agreement

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2015

The financial aristocracy celebrated the Syriza government’s abject capitulation to the European Union’s demands for renewed austerity.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’ mission to save capitalism

By Chris Marsden, 21 February 2015

Varoufakis’ essay on becoming an “erratic Marxist” is a damning exposure of the political role of the new Syriza-led government in Greece and the social layer that it represents.

A comment from a reader: The peculiar socialism of Syriza

21 February 2015

The World Socialist Web Site received this comment from a reader in Greece on the nature of the new Syriza-led government.

Schäuble’s arrogance towards Greece and the class divide in Germany

By Peter Schwarz, 21 February 2015

Schäuble's arrogant attack on Greece is primarily directed at opposition to austerity in the working class in Germany and across Europe.

Siemens unveils another round of job cuts in Germany and worldwide

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 14 February 2015

The German electronics firm is cutting 7,800 jobs globally, 3,300 of them in Germany, with the collaboration of the IG Metall trade union.

Greece’s Syriza government pledges to serve the EU

By Christoph Dreier, 13 February 2015

In the talks with the EU, the Syriza government is preparing to implement new austerity measures and "respect the European rules."

IMF announces new $17 billion loan agreement for Ukraine

By Niles Williamson, 13 February 2015

The latest multi-billion dollar loan agreement is a prelude to further attacks on the living standards of the working class throughout Ukraine.

Syriza capitulates to the European Union

By Peter Schwarz, 7 February 2015

Syriza leaders are traveling across Europe to assure governments they can rely on the party to push through “deep reforms."

Germany demands Greek austerity as Syriza pledges “frenzy of reasonableness”

By Robert Stevens, 6 February 2015

At a press conference with his German counterpart, Greece’s new finance minister pleaded with the European powers to “use us to implement the European programme.”

EU foreign ministers toughen sanctions against Russia

By Johannes Stern, 30 January 2015

In the first foreign policy action of the new Syriza government, Greece agreed to new measures to step up the US-EU economic war against Moscow.

Germany moves into deflation as global bond prices point to deepening slump

By Nick Beams, 30 January 2015

The potential consequences of falling consumer prices and money flooding into bond markets threaten to outweigh even those of the 2008 financial crisis.

The election in Greece and the political tasks of the working class

By Peter Schwarz, 24 January 2015

Despite its left-wing facade, Syriza is a bourgeois party that rests on affluent layers of the middle class.

Financial markets celebrate European Central Bank launch of €1 trillion quantitative easing program

By Nick Beams, 23 January 2015

The measure will have little or no impact on the real economy. Rather, it is aimed at making available further supplies of ultra-cheap cash for financial speculation.

Workers, youth in Athens discuss upcoming election

By our reporters, 22 January 2015

Tens of thousands of Greeks now rely on food handouts and soup kitchens as a consequence of devastating austerity measures.

European Central Bank appears set to introduce quantitative easing

By Nick Beams, 21 January 2015

European stock markets rose to seven-year highs this week in anticipation that the ECB will decide tomorrow to start purchasing sovereign bonds.

Closure of coal mines in Poland threatens 5,000 jobs

By Markus Salzmann, 17 January 2015

Miners are resisting the Polish government’s plans to restructure the coal industry and lay off thousands of workers.

Financial markets rocked by decision to abandon ceiling on Swiss franc

By Nick Beams, 16 January 2015

The decision by Swiss authorities to end the franc’s fixed relationship to the euro has led to one of the most rapid currency appreciations in history.

Oil prices and bond yields continue their decline

By Nick Beams, 14 January 2015

Oil prices on Tuesday sank further toward their levels of 2009, while bond yields hit zero in Japan.

The economic and political implications of deflation

By Nick Beams, 10 January 2015

The announcement that Europe has gone into deflation underscores the deepening breakdown of the global capitalist economy.

Euro zone officially tips into deflation

By Stefan Steinberg, 9 January 2015

More than six years since the 2008 financial crash, Europe is beset by economic stagnation.

Thousands of UK apprentices paid below minimum wage

By Joe Mount, 9 January 2015

A significant number of young apprentices receive below the minimum wage, work unpaid overtime and have no written contract of employment.

Sharp market falls over euro and oil price slump

By Nick Beams, 6 January 2015

The main factor in the fall in US markets appears to have been the further sharp decline in oil prices.

Lithuania adopts the euro

By Markus Salzmann, 5 January 2015

Lithuania is the third and last Baltic state to introduce the euro.

European Central Bank president’s interview sends euro to four-year low

By Nick Beams, 3 January 2015

ECB President Mario Draghi has taken another step to full quantitative easing amid increasing deflationary pressures.

UK: Thousands of City Link delivery workers sacked on New Year’s Eve

By Julie Hyland, 3 January 2015

City Link is the latest in a number of private equity-backed companies that have gone bankrupt over the last few years.

French pseudo-left seeks to block opposition to Socialist Party’s austerity agenda

By Kumaran Ira, 29 December 2014

The New Anti-capitalist Party and the Left Party are insisting that all opposition be controlled by France’s union bureaucracy.

Ireland opens parliamentary inquiry into banking crisis

By Jordan Shilton, 27 December 2014

Even at this early stage, it is clear that nothing will be done to uncover the criminal practices of those who crashed the economy through financial speculation.

Corporations reached secret deals with Luxembourg to avoid tax payments

By Jean Shaoul, 22 December 2014

The tax deals deprived tax revenue to governments around the world, all of which now claim that public services are unaffordable.

Imperialism and the ruble crisis

By Alex Lantier, 18 December 2014

As imperialism encircles and financially strangles Russia, the catastrophic consequences of the dissolution of the USSR are being made all too clear.

General strike against austerity hits Belgian government

By Alex Lantier, 16 December 2014

The strike brought the country to a standstill amid mass opposition in the working class to the reactionary Michel government's austerity agenda.

Italy: One-day general strike against Renzi’s Jobs Act

By Marianne Arens, 15 December 2014

Renzi has the backing of an all-party political alliance and can also rely on the support of the union leadership in enforcing his anti-labour reform plans.

Report shows rising social inequality in major capitalist countries

By Dietmar Henning, 12 December 2014

Thirty years ago, the richest 10 percent in OECD countries earned seven times more than the poorest 10 percent. Today, the ratio is 9.5 to 1.

Protests erupt in Rome against attack on job protection

By Marc Wells, 5 December 2014

Protests broke out in Rome against the Renzi government’s Jobs Act, a labor reform that removes basic workers’ rights and guarantees.

German parliament passes austerity budget

By Ulrich Rippert, 1 December 2014

Finance Minister Schäuble’s austerity diktats and the Left Party’s call for investment programmes are only the right and left boot of capitalist exploitation.

German welfare “reforms” promote virtual slave labour

By Dietmar Henning, 1 December 2014

The Hartz welfare and labour “reforms” and the enlargement of the EU have created conditions in which hundreds of thousands of workers are exploited as virtual slaves.

UK workers see six years of falling wages

By Robert Stevens, 29 November 2014

Young workers have borne the brunt of the post-2008 assault on pay, with the real wages level of those under 25 falling back to below levels last seen in 1988.

French automaker Peugeot-Citroën plans new mass layoffs

By Stéphane Hugues, 29 November 2014

The Peugeot-Citroën group has laid out plans for a new wave of mass sackings accompanied, as in previous years, by public denials that these are being prepared.

Franco-German reform plan calls for deep social cuts, wage freeze in France

By Kumaran Ira, 26 November 2014

France and Germany are proposing a joint economic reform plan with deep social cuts and flexible labour rules in favour of big business.

Luxembourg tax avoidance scandal rocks European Union

By Jean Shaoul, 14 November 2014

Leaked documents show how 340 multinational groups set up corporate structures to avoid taxes.

European Central Bank seeks to reassure financial markets

By Nick Beams, 7 November 2014

ECB president Mario Draghi insisted that the bank stands ready to inject up to one trillion euros into the financial system.

Further job cuts in European auto industry

By Jan Peters, 7 November 2014

Thousands of job cuts are taking place at major assembly plants and in the parts industry.

France, Italy vow more social cuts as EU approves their 2015 budgets

By Anthony Torres, 3 November 2014

In the negotiations, the French and Italian governments agreed to impose deep attacks on the social rights of the working class.

UK Lloyds Banking Group to shed another 9,000 jobs and close 200 branches

By Robert Stevens, 1 November 2014

The restructuring is part of a three-year strategy, with Lloyds planning to make a further £1 billion a year in cost savings by 2017.

French Socialist Party plans to scrap post-World War II job security rules

By Kumaran Ira, 28 October 2014

Valls is proposing to eliminate long-term job contracts in order to boost French competitiveness by allowing businesses to hire and fire at will.

Greece proceeds with further austerity after government survives confidence vote

By John Vassilopoulos, 13 October 2014

The vote of confidence was taken after an opinion poll put pseudo-left opposition party SYRIZA ahead of the ruling New Democracy.

French Prime Minister Valls travels to Berlin

By Stéphane Hugues, 25 September 2014

The meeting of French Prime Minister Valls with German Chancellor Merkel cannot hide the growing Franco-German tensions in Europe.

Who Owns Germany? Documenting the widening gulf between rich and poor

By Gustav Kemper, 15 September 2014

Berger’s book reveals startling facts about the redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top of German society.

Capitalist breakdown and the drive to war

By Nick Beams, 6 September 2014

Just as in the period prior to 1914, a deepening breakdown of the global capitalist system is fuelling the drive to a new world war.

European Central Bank cuts rates and announces asset purchasing program

By Nick Beams, 5 September 2014

The European Central Bank has launched a new round of financial stimulus in the face of worsening economic conditions in Europe.

Further plant closures at Germany’s Heidelberg Press

By Gustav Kemper, 20 August 2014

The trade unions are playing a key role in imposing more redundancies at Germany’s biggest print machine manufacturer.

EU advisors advocate use of military against strikes and protests

By Denis Krassnin, 19 August 2014

An EU think tank has advised governments to protect the rich from the poor by suppressing social protests.

Rising British self-employment used to obscure worsening job situation

By John Farmer, 19 August 2014

The rise in self-employment is driven not by an “entrepreneurial spirit,” but the lack of full-time employment offering an adequate income and pension.

Germany: Osram cuts 7,800 jobs worldwide

By Ludwig Weller, 12 August 2014

The German-based lighting manufacturer announced a new round of job cuts last week.

London mayor threatens to dock pay of striking firefighters

By Allison Smith and Paul Bond, 8 August 2014

Mayor Boris Johnson has previously imposed cuts to fire services, including the closure of fire stations.

Lloyds Bank admits fixing repo rate

By Jean Shaoul, 5 August 2014

Lloyds, in which the British Treasury has a 24 percent stake following the bank’s collapse in 2008, admitted that four of its staff had defrauded the Treasury.