Archive for September 30th, 2010

Anti-Austerity Protests Sweep Across Europe

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The socialist, government run, nanny states of Europe are in a complete state of economic collapse.
This is what Obama and the Democrats would hold in store for us. We have seen indications of what will happen to us if we continue to model ourselves after Europe.

BRUSSELS — Greek doctors and railway employees walked out, Spanish workers shut down trains and buses, and one man even blocked the Irish parliament with a cement truck as anti-austerity protests erupted across Europe Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into Brussels, hoping to swell into a 100,000-strong march on European Union institutions later in the day and reinforce the impact of Spain’s first nationwide strike in eight years.

All the actions sought to protest the budget-slashing, tax-hiking, pension-cutting austerity plans of European governments seeking to control their debt.

In an ironic twist, the march in Brussels comes just as the EU Commission is proposing to punish member states that have run up deficits to fund social programs in a time of high unemployment across the continent.

The proposal, backed by Germany, is running into opposition from France, which wants politicians to decide on sanctions, not rigid rules alone.

‘A great danger’
Several governments, already living dangerously with high debt, were pushed to the brink of financial collapse and have been forced to impose punishing cuts in wages, pensions and employment — measures that have brought workers out by the tens of thousands over the past months.

“There is a great danger that the workers are going to be paying the price for the reckless speculation that took place in financial markets,” Monks said.

“You really got to reschedule these debts so that they are not a huge burden on the next few years and cause Europe to plunge down into recession,” he added.

In Spain, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist government is under severe pressure because of the hugely unpopular measures put in place to save Europe’s fourth-largest economy from a bailout like one that saved Greece from bankruptcy.

The cuts have helped Spain trim its central government deficit by half through July but the unemployment rate stands at 20 percent, and many businesses are struggling to survive.

Unions: Half the workforce on strike
Unions said 10 million people, or more than half the workforce, were on strike. Government officials gave no numbers but played down disruption.

Some shops were forced to shut in the heart of Madrid. Union leaders said 30 protesters were detained but most were quickly released.

Few buses were running in Madrid and only half of underground trains, although Labor Minister Celestino Corbacho said a minimum guaranteed service agreed with unions was being met. In northern Spain, car factory assembly lines halted.

“We’ll continue to strike if that’s what’s needed to bring down the labor reform, which threatens to make jobs even more vulnerable,” said graphic designer Alfredo Perez, one of the pickets.

Greece, which had to be rescued by the euro-nations this spring to stave off bankruptcy, has also been forced to cut deep into workers’ allowances, with weeks of bitter strikes and actions as a result.

‘All politicians should be sacked’
In Dublin, a man blocked the gates of the Irish parliament with a cement truck to protest the country’s expensive bank bailout. Written across the truck’s barrel in red letters were the words: “Toxic Bank” Anglo and “All politicians should be sacked.”

The workers from around Poland blew horns and whistles during a protest in Warsaw Wednesday, and demanded the government guarantees their job security and scrap plans to raise the VAT and tax on alcohol and cigarettes.

In Portugal, President Anibal Cavaco Silva was meeting leaders from the ruling Socialists and the main opposition center-right Social Democrats, to reach a deal on the 2011 budget as newspapers reported the government was considering tax rises.

The crisis talks come after investors dumped Portuguese bonds in recent days, fearing the country will fail to cut its budget deficit.

Manuel Carvalho da Silva, head of the CGTP umbrella union, said workers could intensify industrial action, even though strikes have so far won little broad support from the Portuguese.

“We are going to intensify and increase the threshold of industrial action,” he told business daily Jornal de Negocios.

Concerns are rising in Portugal that the crisis could escalate.

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