European Economy

Spanish government announces more austerity as unemployment soars

By Alejandro López, 27 April 2013

The Spanish government has announced the first in a series of new austerity measures to be presented to the European Union.

Unemployment hits record highs in Spain, France

By Alex Lantier, 26 April 2013

The number of unemployed workers in Spain and France reached all-time highs, as Europe’s economic collapse accelerates under the impact of devastating austerity measures.

Anti-government sentiment dominates elections in Iceland

By Jordan Shilton, 26 April 2013

Elections in Iceland this weekend are likely to see a massive anti-government vote, putting an end to four years of rule by the Social Democrat-Left Green coalition.

Political issues in the teachers’ lockout in Denmark

By Christoph Dreier, 25 April 2013

The lockout of tens of thousands of Danish teachers by the state marks a new stage in the class struggle in Europe.

Democratic Party’s Enrico Letta will try to form Italian government

By Alex Lantier, 25 April 2013

After two months of crisis following February’s elections, recently reinstalled Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has tasked Enrico Letta with forming a government.

Protest strike by teachers in Berlin

By Ute Reissner, 25 April 2013

Some 8,000 teachers were called out on a one-day protest strike in Berlin on Tuesday.

Spain: Polls show support for all parties, unions and monarchy at record low

By Alejandro López, 24 April 2013

The huge decline in support for the political parties, trade unions, and the monarchy can only mean huge social struggles are on the horizon.

Mass evictions continue in Spain

By Franci Vier and Paul Mitchell, 23 April 2013

None of the main demands of the anti-evictions petition launched by the Mortgage Victims Platform have been included in a new law by the Popular Party.

Italy: Napolitano re-elected as president

By Peter Schwarz, 22 April 2013

The reelection of Georgio Napolitano as Italian president is a strictly temporary solution.

Spain’s Socialist Party and trade unions profit from redundancy schemes

By Vicky Short, 22 April 2013

The Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the two main trade unions, Workers Commissions (CCOO) and General Workers Union (UGT), are embroiled in a fraud scandal.

Presidential vote heightens political crisis in Italy

By Peter Schwarz, 20 April 2013

The election of Italy’s president, like the previous general election, has exposed deep divisions and bitter power struggles within the ruling elite.

EU, Greek government plan more mass layoffs, privatisations

By Robert Stevens, 19 April 2013

Under terms agreed with the “troika” some 15,000 public sector workers will lose their jobs by the end of 2014, including 4,000 jobs this year.

Dozens of migrant farmworkers shot in Greece

By Chris Marsden, 19 April 2013

Thirty or more migrant workers have been wounded in a shooting on a strawberry farm in southern Greece. Eight of the workers remain in critical condition.

IMF slashes world growth outlook

By Andre Damon, 18 April 2013

The International Monetary Fund downgraded its 2013 outlook for the world economy Tuesday amid mounting signs that the global slump is intensifying.

Siemens to slash 4,000 jobs in its industrial sector

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 17 April 2013

Siemens plans to cut 4,000 jobs in its industrial sector worldwide in order to save 1.1 billion euros by 2014.

British banks engulfed in new scandals

By Jordan Shilton, 16 April 2013

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking declared that HBOS crashed after a lack of risk controls, rapid and aggressive expansion and poor management amounting to a “colossal failure” on the part of bank executives

EU finance ministers demand more austerity at Dublin summit

By Stefan Steinberg, 15 April 2013

Despite data indicating that Europe’s recession will continue this year, European finance ministers meeting in Dublin over the weekend agreed to intensify austerity measures.

Irish unions support government austerity

By Jordan Shilton, 15 April 2013

Ireland’s trade unions are intensifying their collaboration with the government in order to implement a further €1 billion in austerity cuts.

European Union demands more austerity in Greece

By Robert Stevens, 13 April 2013

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem has warned that Greece needed to “speed up its efforts” in order to comply with the troika’s austerity programme.

Hundreds of thousands of defrauded small savers face loss of life savings in Spain

By Alejandro López, 12 April 2013

Over 700,000 Spanish bank depositors have been defrauded by the banks, including many who have lost their life savings.

Italy: Bersani, Berlusconi discuss forming coalition government

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 12 April 2013

Seven weeks after the Italian election, the Democratic Party and the People of Freedom party are discussing a grand coalition to form a government.

The Cypriot bailout marks a new stage in the euro crisis

By Christoph Dreier, 11 April 2013

Fifty-five years after the founding of the European Economic Community, the project of unifying Europe on a capitalist basis has been irrevocably shattered by the global economic crisis.

UK Council Tax changes spell deepening poverty for millions

By Dennis Moore, 10 April 2013

From this month, millions of the poorest people in the UK are being forced to pay Council Tax for the first time, plunging many into deeper poverty.

Germany’s Left Party defends the looting of Cyprus

By Christoph Dreier, 10 April 2013

With the escalation of the euro crisis, the Left Party is moving closer to the Merkel government and essentially supports its brutal course on Cyprus, which means the unprecedented looting of the country.

European Union demands cuts after Portuguese court rules bailout unconstitutional

By Paul Mitchell, 9 April 2013

The Portuguese Constitutional Court’s ruling against EU budget cuts reveals the politically criminal and illegal basis of the pan-European onslaught on the working class.

European Union imposes austerity bailout on Cyprus

By Robert Stevens, 9 April 2013

The terms dictated to Cyprus by the European Union in exchange for a bailout are predicated on the destruction of the pay and conditions of the working class.

Britain: South West NHS Pay Cartel publishes plans to cut wages and conditions

By Ajanta Silva, 9 April 2013

The final business plan of the National Health Service management in the south west of England serves as a blueprint for reducing the pay and conditions for workers throughout the NHS.

UK politicians, media exploit children’s deaths to demand further attack on welfare

By Julie Hyland, 8 April 2013

Politicians in the UK have responded to the tragic deaths of six children in a house fire to demand even further cuts in welfare spending.

Hundreds of workers at Goss International France lose their jobs

By Gustav Kemper, 8 April 2013

Web offset giant Goss International intensifies its redundancy program, laying off 430 workers.

Health study: Austerity is costing lives in Europe

By Dietmar Henning, 6 April 2013

Large sections of the European population are paying with their health, or even their lives, for EU-dictated austerity measures.

UK: The political fraud of the “anti-bedroom tax” campaign

By Steve James, 6 April 2013

The pseudo-left parties in the UK are using opposition to the introduction of the “bedroom tax” to help the trade unions, Labour Party and Scottish National Party posture as opponents of austerity.

Cahuzac tax scandal, neo-fascist ties stagger France’s ruling Socialist Party

By Alex Lantier, 5 April 2013

The scandal over tax evasion by former Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac on bank accounts tied to business activities with neo-fascist groups has shaken the Socialist Party.

Class war in Europe

By Julie Hyland, 4 April 2013

The punitive measures imposed on Cyprus mark a qualitative deepening of the European bourgeoisie’s class war offensive.

European unemployment rises for 22nd consecutive month

By Stefan Steinberg, 4 April 2013

The latest figures from the Eurostat statistics office confirm that the continent’s economic recession is taking a rising toll on jobs and living standards.

Greek parliament overturns right to free, universal education

By Robert Stevens, 2 April 2013

The cynically-named Athena Plan, calling for mass closures of universities and technical institutions, was passed in flagrant violation of the Greek constitution.

Reports reveal rapid pauperisation of the Spanish working class

By Alejandro López, 2 April 2013

Recent statistical surveys attest to the massive drop in working class living standards in Spain since the onset of the global financial crisis.

Banks threaten to increase repossessions as Irish mortgage crisis deepens

By Jordan Shilton, 1 April 2013

As the vast scale of the mortgage debt crisis emerges in Ireland, the government and the banks prepare to increase repossessions.

After Cyprus, more austerity in Greece

By Robert Stevens, 30 March 2013

Fresh from its financial looting of Cyprus, the European bourgeoisie is threatening to withhold funds from Greece unless it complies with mass sackings in the public sector.

The European Union’s looting of Cyprus

By Julie Hyland, 29 March 2013

The working class of Cyprus faces mass poverty and a doubling of unemployment as the result of the bailout imposed on the small Mediterranean island.

French President Hollande pledges austerity, war in prime time TV interview

By Alex Lantier, 29 March 2013

In an hour-long television interview last night, French President François Hollande sought to outline his policies amid rising popular anger against his government.

Spain: Sacked Delphi workers confront trade unions

By Vicky Short, 29 March 2013

Sacked Delphi workers in Cadiz clashed with trade union officials during an official celebration called by the Socialist Party-Communist Party regional government.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland not exempt from threat of National Health Service destruction

By Steve James, 28 March 2013

All the regional devolved administrations in the UK are pushing ahead the assault on health care underway in England.

Cyprus faces deep recession, high unemployment after bank bailout

By Julie Hyland, 27 March 2013

The €10 billion loan agreed between the Cypriot government and the European Union will see the country lose 20 percent of its GDP in three years, with unemployment doubling.

Germany: leading Left Party official praises Agenda 2010 reforms

By Hendrik Paul, 27 March 2013

The deputy leader of the Left Party’s parliamentary group praised the Agenda 2010 social cuts made by the former Social Democratic Party-Green Party coalition government.

European Union imposes bank bailout on Cyprus

By Jordan Shilton and Chris Marsden, 26 March 2013

The statement by Euro Group head Jeroen Dijsselbloem that the Cyprus bailout is a model for the rest of the euro zone led to falls on Europe’s financial markets.

UK teaching unions signal no resistance to cuts

By Jo March, 26 March 2013

Unions announce a timetable of rolling regional strikes, not scheduled to begin for three months.

Cyprus to face savage cuts and economic dictatorship

By Jordan Shilton and Chris Marsden, 23 March 2013

The fate of Cyprus illustrates how the European Union imposes the dictatorship of the global speculators, banks and corporations on the working class.

Germany: IG Metall union stitches up the Opel Bochum workforce

By Dietmar Henning, 23 March 2013

At two staff meetings on Thursday, workers at the Opel plant in Bochum voted by a large majority (76.1 percent) against the so-called “master contract”.

SYRIZA leader Tsipras addresses the British pseudo-left

By Robert Stevens, 23 March 2013

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s SYRIZA spoke in London at several events last week.

Europe threatens Cyprus with bankruptcy in power struggle with Russia

By Alex Lantier, 22 March 2013

Cyprus’ parliament passed legislation granting the state emergency powers, including capital controls to block sudden outflows of money from the country.

Europe in crisis as Cyprus faces national bankruptcy

By Jordan Shilton and Chris Marsden, 21 March 2013

The collapse of Cyprus’s financial system is being avoided only by the continued closure of the banks, which may be kept shut until next Tuesday.

Osborne’s “Aspiration Nation” budget signals more UK austerity

By Paul Bond, 21 March 2013

Chancellor George Osborne’s budget speech has set out more money for British banks, speculators and major corporations, while workers face a continued wage freeze and greater cuts in social provision.

Germany: Resignation of ThyssenKrupp boss heralds new attacks on workforce

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 20 March 2013

Gerhard Cromme announced his resignation March 8 as chair of the Supervisory Board of ThyssenKrupp AG.

European trade unions oversee auto industry restructuring

By Ulrich Rippert, 20 March 2013

Across Europe, trade unions are playing a key role in imposing mass layoffs, wage cuts and the closure of auto plants.

Cyprus banks close as bailout terms spark Europe-wide crisis

By Jordan Shilton and Chris Marsden, 19 March 2013

Terms attached to the European Union bailout for Cypriot banks triggered heavy losses on financial markets.

EU summit sparks run on Cyprus banks

By Stefan Steinberg and Chris Marsden, 18 March 2013

The decision by the European Union summit to levy a tax on Cyprus bank deposits to pay for a rescue package resulted in a stampede to withdraw cash from the country’s banks.

Statement by the Socialist Equality Party of Germany (PSG) and the editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site

Opel workers: Vote no on the contract!

15 March 2013

The agreement reached between GM-Opel management, IG Metall and the joint works council is aimed at pitting workers at different plants against each other and carrying out the closure of the Bochum factory.

EU summit wants more austerity

By Peter Schwarz, 14 March 2013

The summit attended by 27 leaders of the European Union in Brussels tonight resembles a besieged fortress.

The right-wing threat in Greece

By Cristoph Dreier, 13 March 2013

Some 68 years after the end of Nazi rule in Europe, fascistic organizations are again part of official politics, and entire ethnic groups are deported and humiliated.

Mass opposition to austerity in Portugal

By Paul Mitchell, 13 March 2013

The announcement that Portugal may be given an additional year to pay back the €78 billion bailout comes amid fears of economic meltdown and growing concern at the depth of public opposition.

EU discusses restructuring of Irish and Portuguese bailouts to deepen austerity

By Jordan Shilton, 13 March 2013

The EU finance ministers have agreed in principle to examine ways to restructure the bailout programmes of Ireland and Portugal.

Greek government courts fascist Golden Dawn with anti-immigrant law

By Christoph Dreier, 11 March 2013

As the social crisis worsens in Greece, the ruling class is courting the fascist Golden Dawn group to help it suppress popular opposition.

Police clash with workers fighting closure of Goodyear Amiens-Nord plant

By Antoine Lerougetel, 9 March 2013

Riot police sprayed tear-gas and fired pepper spray at hundreds of workers from the Goodyear Tire Amiens-Nord site in northern France Thursday.

The political significance of Beppe Grillo’s Five-Star Movement

By Marc Wells and Peter Schwarz, 9 March 2013

To understand the rise of Beppo Grillo one must take account the deep crisis of European capitalism and the bankruptcy of the traditional parties of the “left”.

The political issues confronting the Bulgarian protests

By Christoph Dreier, 8 March 2013

Protesters in Bulgaria oppose the austerity measures dictated by the EU and the IMF and the bitter poverty they have produced, but the organisers are mainly petty-bourgeois forces seeking their own share of the spoils.

European economy contracts as stock markets soar

By Stefan Steinberg, 8 March 2013

On the same day that figures were released underlining that Europe is in deepening recession, European stock markets soared to their highest levels since August 2008.

Italian parties endeavor to form a government

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 6 March 2013

Italian parties are trying to form a government to continue the austerity measures of ex-premier Mario Monti.

Austerity demands provoke Greek government crisis

By Robert Stevens, 6 March 2013

The primary demand of the troika is that there be no retreat on plans to slash the number of civil service employees.

Hypocrisy in European debate on bankers’ bonuses

By Stefan Steinberg, 6 March 2013

Those responsible for a redivision of social wealth for the benefit of the banks are seeking to portray themselves as advocates of ordinary Europeans.

UK: A quarter of Greater Manchester’s population living in “extreme poverty”

By Trevor Johnson, 5 March 2013

Six of the local wards in Greater Manchester are among the 60 most deprived wards in the UK.

Irish government and trade unions deepen austerity measures

By Jordan Shilton, 4 March 2013

The Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition in Ireland have agreed a new three-year plan with the trade unions, cutting another €1 billion from public spending.

Greek military prepares for mass repression

By Robert Stevens, 2 March 2013

Politicians have been in contact with military personnel over how to respond to an “explosion” of social unrest against government austerity measures.

Italian voters reject the European Union’s austerity measures

By Peter Schwarz, 27 February 2013

Italian voters have unambiguously rejected the policies of the Monti government and the European Union.

Moody’s credit downgrade heightens UK economic crisis

By Chris Marsden, 27 February 2013

The downgrade of the UK’s credit rating was a negative verdict on Britain’s economy that is well founded.

Strikes and demonstrations rock Spain

By Alejandro López, 27 February 2013

Mass protests and strikes continue in Spain against the austerity regime of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

CEO of US tire firm denounces French Goodyear workers

By Pierre Mabut and Antoine Lerougetel, 27 February 2013

In a letter pledging to exploit underpaid Asian workers, the CEO of Titan denounced workers at Goodyear’s embattled plant in Amiens-Nord, France.

Cyprus poses danger for euro zone stability

By Jordan Shilton, 26 February 2013

As the new Cypriot government of Nikos Anastasiades pledges further austerity, the financial crisis gripping the island threatens the stability of the euro zone.

Social counterrevolution in Greece

By Robert Stevens, 25 February 2013

Mass unemployment exists in Greece, with many “working poor” unable to meet their basic needs.

German government report threatens cuts to welfare benefits

By Sybille Fuchs, 25 February 2013

Targeted are the child allowance, health insurance, parental benefits, pension benefits, and funding to help with housing and education.

Social cleansing of London

Camden Council plans to move out 761 families

By Paul Bond, 25 February 2013

Local councils—with Labour-run administrations in the lead—are implementing a policy of social cleansing by trying to relocate families up to 200 miles away.

Share sell-off points to further instability in global financial markets

By Nick Beams, 25 February 2013

The share sell-off in reaction to concerns over the Fed’s quantitative easing program shows that markets are floating on a sea of liquidity created by central banks.

Spain’s Popular Party makes U-turn on eviction petition

By Alejandro López, 22 February 2013

Last week, Spain’s ruling Popular Party executed an about-face over foreclosures and evictions.

Iberia airline strikers clash with Spanish police

By Alejandro López, 20 February 2013

On Monday, striking workers at the Spanish airline Iberia paralysed Barajas international airport in the capital Madrid.

Teachers demonstrate in Berlin

By our correspondent, 20 February 2013

German unions are seeking to defuse anger and prevent united action by teachers.

Spanish unions collude in mass unemployment and wage cuts

By Alejandro López, 18 February 2013

Spanish workers have suffered a steep rise in unemployment, lower wages and worsening labour conditions, while the employers have reaped the rewards.

Greek strikes continue as unemployment, poverty hit record levels

By Robert Stevens, 16 February 2013

In the face of a deepening slump and growing government repression, workers throughout Greece have continued strikes and protests ahead of a general strike February 20.

France: Unemployed worker sets himself on fire outside job centre

By Antoine Lerougetel, 16 February 2013

An unemployed Algerian worker died by self-immolation in front of the state employment agency in Nantes following cancellation of his unemployment benefits.

Romanian auto workers face wage cuts and layoffs

By Markus Salzmann, 16 February 2013

Major auto companies have moved their production to Eastern Europe in order to profit from low wages and poor working conditions.

Euro zone economy posts worst contraction since 2009

By Andre Damon, 15 February 2013

The economy of the 17-member euro zone contracted 0.6 percent in the last three months of the year, underscoring the depth of the economic slump gripping the world economy.

UK conservative think tank uses child poverty to further its agenda

By Joe Mount, 15 February 2013

The objective is to argue that child poverty should be redefined to blame “benefit entitlement” for “encouraging worklessness.”

ThyssenKrupp to cut 3,800 jobs in the steel sector

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 15 February 2013

ThyssenKrupp can rely on the full support of the union IG Metall in its jobs massacre.

Irish debt deal means decades of austerity to cover bank bailout

By Jordan Shilton, 13 February 2013

Ireland’s Fine Gael-Labour coalition announced an agreement with the European Central Bank last week, ostensibly designed to remove the “promissory note” payments to bail out the failed Anglo Irish Bank.

Class tensions in Europe at the breaking point

By Peter Schwarz, 11 February 2013

European governments are responding to social opposition with strike bans and methods of state violence traditionally associated with dictatorships.

European Union summit agrees on austerity budget

By Peter Schwarz, 11 February 2013

With the first cut to its own budget, the EU has given a clear signal for the continuation of its austerity agenda.

Photographer Alessandro Penso, chronicler of “Fortress Europe,” speaks on the plight of migrant youth

By Paul Mitchell, 9 February 2013

Penso, winner of the Terry O’Neill award for his photographs of migrant youth in Greece, spoke to the WSWS on the European social crisis.

Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi praises Mussolini

By Marianne Arens, 8 February 2013

Italy’s former prime minister used the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day to praise the fascist “Duce” Benito Mussolini.

UK: Honda slashes nearly one third of jobs at Swindon

By Richard Duckworth, 8 February 2013

The announcement comes less than six months after British politicians, business circles and the media praised Honda to the skies and declared that Britain had “won the global car war”.

A reply to a defender of SYRIZA

By Robert Stevens, 8 February 2013

The WSWS replies to a criticism of “Pseudo-left conceals refusal of SYRIZA, PASOK and trade unions to oppose Golden Dawn.”

Kremlin responds to slowdown in economic growth with deeper social cuts

By Clara Weiss, 7 February 2013

The budget for 2013-2015 provides for massive cuts in the spheres of culture, education and health, while the share going to military spending will rise to 6.1 percent of GDP.

UK youth face bleak job prospects in 2013

By Joe Mount, 5 February 2013

Youth unemployment continues to rise in the UK, with a new study forecasting that 86,000 more workers under the age of 25 will be without jobs this year.