European Union

The euro bailouts and the crisis of democracy in Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 7 August 2012

In a recent comment, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said that Europe would fall apart if governments were “bound by the decisions of their parliaments.”

Europe’s austerity zone

By Chris Marsden, 12 July 2012

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s announcement of a further 65 billion euros in cuts and tax hikes confirms that no shift from austerity can be expected from either the European Union or any of its constituent governments.

Record unemployment in euro zone

By Christoph Dreier, 3 July 2012

The record unemployment in the euro zone is the result of the austerity measures imposed by the European Union, particularly in southern Europe.

EU steps up internal border controls

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 19 June 2012

Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is again raising its internal frontiers in order to force refugees to return to the misery of their home countries.

G7 holds emergency meeting amid deepening European banking crisis

By Peter Schwarz, 6 June 2012

The euro crisis has worsened dramatically over the past few days, sparking a frantic series of international meetings and conference calls.

SYRIZA leader Tsipras lays out right-wing policies for Greek crisis

By Alex Lantier, 6 June 2012

On May 31, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras gave Time magazine a long interview on his party’s program in Greece’s June 17 elections.

Catastrophic conditions in the Bulgarian health system

By Anna Rombach, 5 June 2012

The health system in Bulgaria is undergoing a devastating decline as a result of the austerity measures dictated by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Greece: SYRIZA presents its economic programme

By Christoph Dreier, 2 June 2012

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras proposed to terminate loan agreements with Greece’s creditors and reverse the cuts imposed on Greece in recent years.

Europe’s leaders at loggerheads at EU summit as markets tumble

By Stefan Steinberg, 24 May 2012

European leaders in Brussels failed to agree on any concrete measures to deal with the continent’s rapidly worsening economic crisis.

SYRIZA leader Tsipras in Berlin

By Christoph Dreier, 24 May 2012

Tsipras stressed that his party was in no way dismissive or even hostile to EU institutions, and that Greece under his rule would not leave the EU.

UK prime minister warns of euro zone break-up

By Julie Hyland, 19 May 2012

UK Prime Minister David Cameron used a speech to business leaders in Manchester to set out his government’s prescription for the euro zone on the eve of the G8 summit.

European economic crisis, military tensions overshadow G8 summit

By Alex Lantier, 19 May 2012

Heads of state gathered yesterday to kick off a two-day G8 summit at Camp David, to be followed by a NATO summit starting tonight in Chicago.

Elections in Greece and France herald fresh social conflicts

By Peter Schwarz, 8 May 2012

The voting out of office of Nicolas Sarkozy in France and the devastating defeat of the ruling parties in Greece are an expression of broad opposition to the austerity policies laid down by the European Union.

The European elections and the struggle against austerity

By Alex Lantier, 8 May 2012

The outcome of elections throughout Europe has demonstrated the deep popular opposition to austerity measures imposed by European and US finance capital.

Germany and France demand the reintroduction of border controls

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 26 April 2012

The interior ministers of France and Germany are seeking to reintroduce border controls inside the European Union.

German trade union officials and academics publish defence of European Union

By Johannes Stern, 5 April 2012

Leading German trade union officials and “left” social scientists and politicians have published a statement calling for the defence of the European Union.

EU grants Serbia candidate status in run-up to federal election

By Ognjen Markovic, 10 March 2012

Following accession negotiations which began in 2005, Serbia was awarded official candidate status of the European Union on March 1.

EU summit agrees to German plan for austerity straitjacket

By Stefan Steinberg, 1 February 2012

The EU summit agreed to a plan drawn up by the German government for a series of measures forcing governments across the continent to implement harsh austerity measures.

Striking truckers, fishermen clash with Italian government

By Mike Jobson, 27 January 2012

Yesterday the government of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti moved to crush protests by truckers, fishermen, and other professions hit by Monti’s unpopular social attacks.

Croatia: Referendum paves way for EU accession

By Markus Salzmann, 25 January 2012

Croatian voters approved the country’s joining the European Union in a referendum held on Sunday.

S&P downgrades and social counterrevolution in Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 17 January 2012

The downgrading of nine euro zone countries by Standard & Poor’s is a politically motivated decision.

Europe plunging into recession

By Stefan Steinberg, 4 January 2012

The most recent economic figures indicate that 2012 will be a year of renewed recession in Europe.

Troika demands Greece make billions more in spending cuts

By Robert Stevens, 22 December 2011

Days after the unelected government of Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos passed a drastic austerity budget, the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank are demanding billions more in cuts.

Banks demand deeper cuts following EU summit

By Barry Grey, 20 December 2011

Banks, bond-holders and rating agencies have rejected the Brussels summit agreement because of its failure to massively increase the use of public funds to underwrite their bad debts.

European workers face austerity and dictatorship

By Julie Hyland, 13 December 2011

On both sides of the channel, little has been said on implications of the measures agreed at last week’s European Union summit for the working class.

Merkel and Sarkozy plan a Europe of austerity

By Peter Schwarz, 7 December 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have presented a joint plan to restore the financial markets’ confidence in the euro.

European “left” supports EU institutions

By Christoph Dreier, 2 December 2011

While the European powers clash over how to reform the stability pact to solve the Euro crisis at the expense of the working class, Europe’s so-called “left” parties have made clear that they support the ruling elite’s austerity policies.

Newly-installed Greek government pledges continued cuts

By Christoph Dreier, 15 November 2011

The new Greek government under Prime Minister Papademos announced further austerity measures. It relies not only on the social-democratic PASOK, but also on the extreme right wing LAOS party.

Brussels summit intensifies national conflicts in Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 29 October 2011

At the root of Europe’s debt crisis is a more fundamental problem. Despite having founded a European Union, Europe remains divided into separate states with each ruling elite intent on pursuing its own national interests.

Debt crisis splits Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 27 October 2011

The leaders of the European Union emerged from their meeting without anything resembling the “ambitious and comprehensive response” to the European debt crisis that had been pledged.

The euro crisis: Billions more for the banks

By Peter Schwarz, 12 October 2011

For the second time in three years, European governments want to "save" the banks with massive gifts of cash from the public purse.

European Conference against Austerity seeks to rescue capitalism

By Julie Hyland, 11 October 2011

The European Conference against Austerity in London last month underscored how the various “activist” networks and the petty bourgeois ex-left groups have become completely integrated into the political structures of bourgeois rule.

World stock markets slump as Europe moves into recession

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 September 2011

World stock markets slumped sharply on Thursday following reports indicating a slide into recession in Europe and the US, together with a rapid slowing of growth in Asian markets.

Fierce tensions in run-up to euro-zone emergency summit

By Peter Schwarz, 21 July 2011

The euro zone emergency summit, which takes place on Thursday in Brussels, is seen as critical for the future of the euro and the European Union.

Fissures deepen over European debt crisis

By Stefan Steinberg, 15 July 2011

Major differences are emerging within the so-called troika (the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, the European Union) and between individual European nations on how to prevent a breakup of the euro zone.

Greek austerity package: Social counterrevolution in Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 30 June 2011

The vote in the Greek Parliament approving another package of austerity measures marks a political watershed for the whole of Europe.

Which way forward for the working class in Greece?

By Stefan Steinberg, 15 June 2011

A one-day strike called by Greece’s trade unions against the latest social cuts demanded by the PASOK government poses pressing questions of political perspective to all class-conscious workers.

The war in Libya and the crisis of the European Union

Part 3

By Peter Schwarz, 1 June 2011

The following article is based on a report, given by Peter Schwarz, secretary of the International Committee of the Fourth International, at a seminar of the German section of the Socialist Equality Party during the Easter holidays in 2011. We are publishing it in three parts.

Amidst divisions, G8 meeting pledges austerity and war

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 May 2011

At the end of their two day summit, G8 leaders demanded an intensification of austerity programs across the globe and reiterated their resolve to secure the change of uncooperative regimes by military force.

As popular opposition grows, European ruling class demands austerity

By Andre Damon, 24 May 2011

Europe's ruling classes have escalated their assault on government spending and social services, with the Euro Group president calling for privatization scheme in Greece modeled on East Germany.

Europe one year after the bailout of Greece

By Stefan Steinberg, 10 May 2011

One year after the bailout of Greece, Europe stands on the brink of disintegration, with attacks on the working class intensifying and conflicts mounting between the continent's leading powers.

European Union steps up measures to ward off refugees

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 2 May 2011

EU member states plan to reintroduce border controls within the EU, while upgrading surveillance along its external borders.

France blocks train carrying Tunisian refugees from Italy

By Antoine Lerougetel, 20 April 2011

Last Sunday French border police blocked rail traffic between France and Italy to prevent Tunisian immigrants from entering France via Italy.

European Union divided over refugee question

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 18 April 2011

The landing of North African refugees landing on the Italian island of Lampedusa and on Malta has unleashed a series of violent disputes within the EU.

European summits: Aggressive action against Libya and European workers

By Peter Schwarz, 12 March 2011

The rapid succession of high-level meetings in Europe over the past few days reflects a deep crisis of the European Union.

EU accepts attack on press freedom in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 2 March 2011

The EU has virtually accepted the abolition of press freedoms in Hungary, passed by the right-wing government of Victor Orban.

EU finance ministers meeting

No agreement on euro crisis

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 January 2011

A summit of European finance ministers this week failed to arrive at any clear consensus on how to tackle the continent’s escalating economic and social crisis.

Greece to build fortified border fence to deter refugees

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 8 January 2011

The border fence not only symbolizes “Fortress Europe”, but is a model for the attacks of the European governments on the democratic rights of all the people.

The European Union and freedom of the press

By Peter Schwarz, 6 January 2011

As Hungary assumes the EU presidency, a new media law gives the government in Budapest massive powers to curb the press.

Spending cuts exacerbate weather chaos in Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 28 December 2010

The unusually cold winter at a time when many governments are introducing spending cuts has resulted in chaotic conditions and numerous deaths in wide parts of Europe.

The demolition of press freedom in Hungary

By Markus Salzmann and Peter Schwarz, 24 December 2010

Without any significant protest from the European Union or the European press, Hungary’s Fidesz party has won overwhelming parliamentary support to pass a new media law that will effectively deprive the country of freedom of the press.

European Central Bank promises unlimited liquidity

By Stefan Steinberg, 4 December 2010

In yet another concession to international banks and speculators, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet announced Thursday that the ECB would continue its policy of making unlimited liquidity available to the banks well into next year.

Eurozone crisis spreads: Portugal, Italy, Belgium hit by fallout from Irish bailout

By Stefan Steinberg, 2 December 2010

Despite a series of measures by leading European governments to reassure the markets in recent days, speculators have continued their unrelenting onslaught on exposed economies.

Europe’s dirty secret

By Stefan Steinberg and Barry Grey, 19 November 2010

The aim of the current offensive by the international financial elite is a fundamental realignment of class relations worldwide.

EU “rescue” operation for Ireland heralds deepening euro crisis

By Barry Grey and Stefan Steinberg, 18 November 2010

European finance ministers have dispatched a team of officials to examine the books of Ireland’s banks and prepare the way for a “rescue” plan that will shred Irish sovereignty and impose even more savage attacks on the working class.

Lessons of the European strike wave

By Alex Lantier, 11 November 2010

The betrayal of the strikes in France against President Sarkozy’s pension cuts underscores the need for a political balance sheet of the struggles waged against social cuts adopted by European governments.

Greek union calls off rail strike

By Robert Stevens, 2 November 2010

On October 28, the Panhellenic Federation of Railway Workers (POS) called off the latest strike by Greek railway workers.

Greek culture ministry workers end strike after police attack

By Robert Stevens, 16 October 2010

Culture ministry workers employed at the Acropolis in Athens ended a three-day strike Friday, following brutal attacks by riot police.

Pakistani, European officials charge US manufactured terror scare

By Robert Stevens, 9 October 2010

Britain’s Guardian newspaper published comments Friday from a high-ranking Pakistani government official and European intelligence officials stating that the recent US terror alert was politically motivated.

European politicians deny US claims of terror threat

By Stefan Steinberg, 7 October 2010

Leading European politicians have gone on record this week denying US claims of an imminent terror danger in Europe.

French National Assembly debates anti-immigration law

By Kumaran Ira, 7 October 2010

The immigration law being debated in the National Assembly is part of a wave of anti-democratic measures by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is responding to rising social discontent with appeals to the neo-fascist vote.

European Union sharpens its austerity measures

By Peter Schwarz, 30 September 2010

The EU has significantly increased the pressure on highly indebted member states to reduce their deficits through harsh austerity measures.

Europe-wide protests against austerity and cuts

By our correspondent, 30 September 2010

Up to 100,000 took part in a march Wednesday on the European Union buildings in Brussels, Belgium, organised by the European Trade Union Confederation. The Brussels march was the official centre-piece of Europe-wide demonstrations against austerity and cuts.

ETUC European day of action—a cynical maneuver

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 September 2010

The European day of trade union action to be held Wednesday is a cynical maneuver by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) with one central purpose—to pressure the European business and political elite to involve the trade union bureaucracies in their plans to impose new austerity measures on the working class.

Spanish parliament passes anti-labour laws

By Paul Stuart, 21 September 2010

The Spanish Socialist Party government has won parliamentary approval for new labour laws that will make it easier to sack workers.

European leaders disavow criticism of France’s Roma deportations

By Alex Lantier, 17 September 2010

In the run-up to yesterday’s Brussels summit, European officials and heads of state disavowed criticisms of French President Sarkozy’s mass deportation of Roma.

Conflict erupts between EU and France over Roma expulsions

By Antoine Lerougetel and Peter Schwarz, 16 September 2010

The French government’s policy of mass expulsions of Roma has led to a sharp conflict between Brussels and Paris.

Economic fault lines deepen in Europe

By Stefan Steinberg, 7 September 2010

Economic growth rates remain minimal for most European countries and are negative for many others. This will inevitably generate political and social tensions.

European Commission urges Greek government to press ahead with austerity

By Stefan Steinberg, 24 August 2010

Despite widespread social opposition, the European Commission has urged the Greek government to press ahead with its extensive program of spending and income cuts.

German parties back attack on pension system

By Martin Nowak, 12 August 2010

Cross-party support for the abolition of guaranteed pensions shows that, despite propaganda to the contrary, no one in the ruling elite believes the economy will recover from the deepest economic crash since the 1930s.

Spanish government prepares to use military against air traffic controllers

By Paul Stuart, 10 August 2010

Air traffic controllers at the state-run AENA have voted 98 percent in favour of industrial action against an assault by the Zapatero government, including plans to use the military.

Greek military mobilised to break truck drivers strike

By Robert Stevens, 2 August 2010

The decision by the social democratic PASOK government to use the military to break a nationwide strike by truck drivers is a stark indication of the polarisation of class relations in Greece and throughout Europe.

Europe’s class policy: A blank check for the banks, austerity for workers

By Stefan Steinberg, 31 July 2010

The same week that European officials announced the results of rigged bank stress tests, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet demanded that governments across the continent press ahead with austerity programs that will slash jobs, wages and social programs.

Italy’s Berlusconi government racked by scandals and growing tensions

By Marianne Arens, 30 July 2010

The current corruption scandals in Italy far exceed those involved in the so-called Tangentopoli swamp of 1991, and a succession of ministers and state secretaries has already resigned.

IMF and EU step up the pressure on Hungary

By Markus Salzmann, 28 July 2010

The International Monetary Fund and the European Union have tightened the screws on Hungary following a government decision to introduce a levy on banks and insurance companies, and delay the introduction of some of its planned austerity measures.

Stress test whitewash of European banks

By Stefan Steinberg, 26 July 2010

The results of the stress tests of European banks, made public last Friday, amounted to a whitewash of the major financial institutions.

From stimulus to austerity: An international class-war policy

By Barry Grey, 22 July 2010

The past several months have witnessed a shift in social policy by the international bourgeoisie even further to the right, marked by a turn from economic stimulus policies to brutal austerity measures.

Media demands France prepare for world war

By Kumaran Ira, 16 July 2010

Major French newspapers are demanding a drastic increase in French military spending, warning that France should be prepared for major wars in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

Germany and France use loans to Greece to push for major arms deals

By Johannes Stern, 15 July 2010

Berlin and Paris have used the bailout of Greece to force Athens to agree to massive arms procurement deals.

European economy slowed by sovereign debt, banking crises

By Stefan Steinberg, 13 July 2010

Speaking to reporters at the end of last week, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB), Jean-Claude Trichet, sought to play down speculation on the possibility of the euro-zone entering a new recession.

Austerity for workers, tax cuts for business—Europe’s class policy

By Stefan Steinberg, 8 July 2010

A new report reveals that in the wake of the most serious economic crisis since the 1930s, European governments are continuing to cut corporate taxes while increasing the tax burden on the working population.

G20 summit exposes deep trans-Atlantic differences

By Stefan Steinberg, 1 July 2010

While international leaders sought to put the best face on the G20 summit held in Toronto at the end of last week, there was no disguising the extent of divisions between major global players, particularly the United States and Germany.

European trade union head backs austerity measures

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 June 2010

An interview with John Monks, the general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), provides a revealing glimpse into the discussions taking place behind the scenes between leading figures in the European political establishment.

Ukraine abandons NATO candidacy

By Niall Green, 12 June 2010

The new administration in Kiev seeks to improve ties with Moscow and the EU, while preparing with austerity measures against the working class.

Hundreds of billions for the banks

France votes credits for European Financial Stability Fund

By Antoine Lerougetel and Alex Lantier, 8 June 2010

France’s National Assembly voted €111 billion for the planned €750 European bailout fund aimed to rescue banks hit by the sovereign debt crisis, amid rising tensions among European financial authorities.

Spain: government imposes austerity and pay cuts

By Paul Stuart, 5 June 2010

The ruling Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE), led by Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, has pushed through a package of cuts adding up to €15 billion and imposed a 5 percent pay cut on government workers.

Russian-EU summit produces few agreements

By Niall Green, 5 June 2010

The Russian-EU summit held last weekend produced no significant agreements as both sides attempted to shore up their relative positions in the face of Europe’s deepening financial crisis.

Austerity measures throughout Europe

By Peter Schwarz, 29 May 2010

In the two weeks since European heads of state and the IMF reached agreement on a €750 billion rescue package for the euro, not a day has gone by without the announcement of a new round of draconian austerity measures.

Portugal’s Socialist Party government imposes new round of austerity

By Paul Mitchell, 18 May 2010

Portugal’s Socialist Party government has agreed with the opposition Social Democrats on further austerity measures to cut the deficit in half—from 9.4 percent of GDP to 4.6 percent by next year.

Economic crisis makes “very difficult” situation for Greek families worse

By Robert Stevens and Alex Lantier, 18 May 2010

WSWS reporters spoke to travelers at the Athens train station, who explained the impossible financial situations they face due to social cuts and the Greek debt crisis.

Greek debt crisis hits small businesses in Athens

By Alex Lantier, 18 May 2010

WSWS reporters talked with residents of Peristeri, a suburb of Athens with many small businesses, about how the Greek debt crisis is affecting them and the city’s industry.

Euro aid package inaugurates offensive against working class

By Peter Schwarz, 13 May 2010

Last weekend, European leaders and finance ministers agreed to a rescue package for the euro which inaugurates the most comprehensive offensive against the working class since the end of World War II.

Greek government announces major pension cuts

By Robert Stevens and Alex Lantier, 13 May 2010

Sharp cuts in pensions are the latest in a series of austerity measures carried out by Prime Minister George Papendreou following the outbreak of the Greek debt crisis.

Stock markets surge on €750 billion European bailout

By Alex Lantier, 11 May 2010

Financial stocks surged as European authorities announced a new bailout, transferring massive public funds to the banks to stem fears of a collapse of the financial system if Greece or other European countries defaulted on their debts.

Fears over Greek crisis continue to drive down global markets

By Bill Van Auken, 8 May 2010

Despite the Greek parliament’s approval of drastic austerity measures, fears that the country’s economic crisis will deepen and spread to other nations continued to drive down international markets Friday.

Greek workers strike against austerity measures

By Stefan Steinberg, 6 May 2010

Greek workers staged a general strike on Wednesday to protest massive austerity measures. Prime Minister George Papandreou seized on the death of three bank workers in a fire to press forward the attack on the working class.

Twenty years since declaring independence from the USSR

Austerity in Latvia: a warning to the international working class

By Niall Green, 4 May 2010

Twenty years after declaring independence from the USSR, the Latvian government is carrying out savage austerity measures in collusion with international financial elite and their representatives in the IMF, the European Union, and the government in Riga.

Greece, the euro crisis and the issues confronting the European working class

By Ulrich Rippert, 1 May 2010

The decision by the US rating agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade Greek debt to junk status and its subsequent downgrading of Portugal and Spain augurs a new stage in the European and international financial crisis.

Expanded Greek bailout discussed as credit crisis engulfs Europe

By Alex Lantier, 29 April 2010

German and IMF officials discussed a €135 billion bailout for Greece yesterday, as Spain’s credit rating was downgraded and fears grew that the sovereign debt crisis would spread throughout Europe.

European officials demand new cuts following Greek bailout request

By Alex Lantier, 26 April 2010

European and IMF officials indicated they will demand further social cuts in Greece following Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou’s request for a bailout.