Northern Europe

Ireland suffers widespread flooding

By Jordan Shilton, 8 December 2009

Thousands of people were forced from their homes across Ireland last month after torrential rain caused severe flooding.

Irish unions call off general strike, offer €1.3 billion public service cuts

By Stephen James, 3 December 2009

Following two long nights of discussion, including one 23-hour session, the Irish trade unions have offered the government a package of measures designed to cut next year’s public service wage bill by some €1.3 billion.

What does Iceland’s “national assembly” represent?

By Jordan Shilton, 30 November 2009

On November 14 a “national assembly” was held in Reykjavik, involving approximately 1,500 participants, or 0.5 percent of the population.

Sweden: Koenigsegg pulls out of Saab deal

By Jordan Shilton, 28 November 2009

After months of uncertainty, the Koenigsegg Group announced November 24 that it was no longer interested in purchasing Saab Automobile.

Deepening economic crisis in eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann, 27 November 2009

Recent reports indicate that the economies of many central and eastern European states are headed for new shocks.

Ireland: 300,000 public service workers strike

By Steve James, 25 November 2009

Up to 300,000 public service workers in Ireland struck November 24 against proposals by the Irish government to impose devastating spending cuts in the 2010 budget.

Sweden: Further delays in Koenigsegg takeover of Saab

By Jordan Shilton, 19 November 2009

In spite of the decision of the European Investment Bank (EIB) on October 21 to grant Saab Automobile a €400 million loan, the deal to sell the GM unit to Koenigsegg Group remains in the balance.

Irish Fianna Fail/Green coalition prepares major budget cuts

By Steve James, 24 October 2009

Ireland’s ruling coalition of Fianna Fail and the Green Party are preparing a confrontation with the working class.

Norwegian election dominated by debates over oil fund

By Jordan Shilton, 22 October 2009

On October 13, Norway’s re-elected coalition government led by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced its 2010 budget amid claims that the country had weathered the global economic downturn.

Norwegian pension fund breaks silence on Volkswagen-Porsche takeover scandal

By Patrick Richter, 15 October 2009

Volkswagen is rescuing the oligarch clan Piëch/Porsche from its failed speculation and giving it more than €4.5 billion.

Swedish government to provide backing to Saab sale

By Jordan Shilton, 15 October 2009

Sweden’s right-wing Alliance government announced on October 7 that it would provide support to the bid of the Koenigsegg Group to take over automaker Saab.

One year since banking collapse, Iceland’s crisis deepens

By Jordan Shilton, 12 October 2009

Over the course of several days last October, Iceland’s banking system collapsed.

Irish referendum endorses European Union’s Lisbon Treaty

By Steve James, 5 October 2009

The European Union’s Lisbon Treaty has been endorsed by Irish voters in Friday’s referendum by a majority of 67 percent of voters to 33 percent.

Ireland: Vote “No” to the Lisbon Treaty

For the United Socialist States of Europe

By Socialist and Germany, 1 October 2009

The Socialist Equality Parties of the UK and Germany call for a “No” vote in the Irish referendum on the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty on Friday, October 2.

UN climate change meeting

No agreement between major powers on carbon emissions

By Tom Eley, 23 September 2009

Tuesday’s global warming summit failed to ease differences among the major powers in advance of a December treaty conference in Copenhagen.

Strikes and occupations spread across Ireland

By Jordan Shilton, 7 September 2009

Recent strikes and occupations in Ireland have involved dockers at Dublin ports, medical workers in County Tipperary, Health Services Executive employees and workers at Coca Cola.

Sweden: Koenigsegg bid to buy Saab under threat

By Jordan Shilton, 27 August 2009

Having announced in June that it was set to purchase Saab, there is a strong possibility that the consortium Koenigsegg Group AB may be unable to finance its bid.

Iceland’s parliament votes to apply for European Union membership

By Jordan Shilton, 25 July 2009

On July 16, Iceland’s parliament (Althingi) voted by 33 votes to 28 to apply for membership of the European Union.

Iceland: Government and trade unions impose IMF austerity measures

By Jordan Shilton, 14 July 2009

On June 26, a comprehensive agreement was announced between Iceland’s government, trade unions and employers’ organisations containing plans for sharp public spending cuts and tax hikes.

Baltic economic instability threatens to spread to Sweden

By Jordan Shilton, 15 June 2009

Deepening economic problems in Latvia are threatening to spread throughout the region.

Finnish government slashes social spending

By Jordan Shilton, 12 May 2009

Since the start of the year Finland’s governing coalition has cut spending in the face of the country’s worst recession since World War II.

Iceland: Social democrats and Left Greens pledge to continue coalition after elections

By Jordan Shilton, 18 April 2009

As Iceland prepares for early elections scheduled for April 25, the Social Democratic Alliance (SDA) looks set to emerge as the largest party.

Sweden: Over half a million face unemployment

By Jordan Shilton, 14 April 2009

Over half a million people will be out of work in Sweden next year, according to the latest predictions.

Sweden: Unions promote nationalism over Saab

By Jordan Shilton, 3 March 2009

Sweden’s trade unions have organised a campaign for state aid to rescue the ailing carmaker Saab.

Swedish automaker Saab seeks bankruptcy protection

By Jordan Shilton, 25 February 2009

The automaker Saab is to be given temporary bankruptcy protection to enable it to carry out a “restructuring” programme.

Government measures fail to halt severe decline of British economy

By Chris Talbot, 19 February 2009

Nationalism and calls for protection are growing as the latest figures show that the British economy is a state of severe recession and that government measures have failed to halt the decline.

Britain: Police will not be prosecuted for Jean Charles de Menezes killing

By Paul Bond, 17 February 2009

No police officer is to face trial for the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes in London in July 2005.

UK government deports Dutch politician

By Niall Green, 17 February 2009

The UK government has banned right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders from Britain. Wilders is a racist provocateur who is seeking to whip up anti-Muslim chauvinism. Wilders’s deportation, however, is an attack on, not a defence of, democratic rights.

Britain: Ken Livingstone and his “left” disciples

By Paul Mitchell, 14 February 2009

The “Progressive London” conference hosted by Ken Livingstone called for a new version of Keynesianism to kick-start the economy.

Britain: Bankers Treasury Select Committee “grilling” fails to materialise

By Julie Hyland, 12 February 2009

The pretence that four of Britain’s leading bankers would be “grilled” for their role in their institutions’ near collapse was an insult to the intelligence of working people.

Ireland: Waterford occupation continues as protests grow against cuts and closures

By Steve James, 10 February 2009

Workers are continuing to occupy the Waterford Wedgewood crystal factory in Ireland as protests over the economic crisis spread.

Britain: Foreign Office colludes with US to cover-up torture of Binyam Mohamed

By Robert Stevens, 7 February 2009

High Court rulings regarding Guantánamo detainee Binyam Mohamed have revealed US and British complicity in suppressing evidence of torture.

Britain: Tamils demonstrate outside parliament

By Paul Mitchell, 5 February 2009

Around 5,000 Tamils demonstrated outside the UK Parliament against the war being waged by the government in Sri Lanka, on the 61st anniversary of the independence of Ceylon.

Britain: Refinery dispute becomes focus of shift to protectionism within Labour

By Julie Hyland, 5 February 2009

The refinery strikes over jobs for “Britons first” have become the focus for a shift to protectionism by the trade union bureaucracy, which is also finding expression within the Labour government.

Stalinists and Socialist Party defend “Britons first” refinery protest

By Julie Hyland, 3 February 2009

The Stalinist Communist Party and the Socialist Party are seeking to defend the demand for “British jobs for British workers” at the centre of the oil refinery dispute.

Britain: Royal Mail faces privatisation and jobs massacre

By Richard Tyler, 3 February 2009

The Brown government has approved the partial privatisation of Royal Mail, the UK’s state-run postal service.

Ireland: Workers occupy Waterford crystal factory

By Steve James, 3 February 2009

Two hundred workers have occupied the historic Waterford Crystal plant and visitor centre at Kilbarry, Ireland.

Protests over economic crisis topple Icelandic government

By Barry Grey, 28 January 2009

The collapse of the right-wing Haarde government in Iceland is the sharpest expression to date of the growing social and political turmoil across Europe arising from the economic crisis.

Ireland: Anglo Irish Bank taken into state ownership

By Steve James, 27 January 2009

The Irish government was forced to take the Anglo Irish Bank into full state ownership on January 15. The move came as fears that a collapse of the bank, one of Ireland’s largest lenders, would bring down the entire economy.

Iceland: Angry protests over economy force early elections

By Jordan Shilton, 24 January 2009

Special forces had to rescue Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde in the early hours of Thursday morning, as ongoing protests over the country’s economic crisis erupted into angry clashes outside parliament. On Friday, Haarde announced early elections for May 9.

Britain: Demands for nationalization of banks from sections of big business

By Julie Hyland, 24 January 2009

The Labour government’s latest bailout of Britain’s banks has been greeted with widespread scepticism in leading financial and business circles, and calls for their “nationalisation” amid collapsing share prices.

British government mounts new bank bailout amid warnings of economic collapse

By Jean Shaoul, 21 January 2009

Britain’s Labour government announced another massive bank bailout on Monday, just months after the same banks received a £500 billion “aid” package from the treasury.

British defence secretary prepares escalation in Afghanistan

By Harvey Thompson, 21 January 2009

Britain’s defence secretary John Hutton delivered the UK government’s sharpest public criticism of its European NATO allies and called for an increase in troop deployment to the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.

Britain: Government report calls for scrapping cap on university fees

By Robert Stevens, 20 January 2009

A report commissioned by the British government has called for the scrapping of the current cap of £3,145 a year on university tuition fees.

Students at two London universities occupy campuses in protest at Gaza attacks

By Paul Mitchell, 17 January 2009

Students at two London universities occupy campuses in protest at Gaza attacks By Paul Mitchell 17 January 2009  

Britain: Prince Harry and the “P” word

By Julie Hyland, 15 January 2009

With Prince Harry again embroiled in controversy over his latest “unroyal” behaviour—referring to a fellow Sandhurst cadet with a racial epithet—politicians, army brass and the media lined up to draw a line under the unsavoury affair.

Britain: Free school meals denied to one million children

By Liz Smith, 15 January 2009

Free school meals are being denied to one million children whose families are among a growing number of the “working poor”.

Britain: Brown’s “New Deal” scuppered as it is launched

By Julie Hyland, 10 January 2009

On Monday, British Prime Minister Brown unveiled initiatives aimed at creating “tens of thousands” of jobs. But thousands of job losses and warnings of hundreds of thousands more, showed his “New Deal” to be dead in the water.

Britain: Financial pain and insecurity for millions of families in 2009

By Julie Hyland, 2 January 2009

A report from the British Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said that 2009 will be the worst for job losses in at least 20 years, with some 300,000 workers laid off in the months leading up to March 31.

Britain: A revealing exchange on a national unity government

By Julie Hyland, 24 December 2008

A revealing exchange took place in the Guardian newspaper earlier this month between former Labour minister Frank Field and veteran Labourite Tony Benn on the prospects for a government of national unity.

Iceland faces rising unemployment and rampant inflation

By Jordan Shilton, 20 December 2008

Protests continue in Reykjavík to demand the resignation of the government and central bank chiefs and the holding of fresh elections. Opposition has also been expressed to the privatisation drive resulting from the government’s acceptance of an IMF-backed loan.

British economy sinks like a stone

By Jean Shaoul, 18 December 2008

Every day brings new indicators that the economic crisis engulfing Britain is much worse and developing far more rapidly than either the government or the economic pundits have acknowledged. This has rocked confidence in the pound and sent the London Stock Market tumbling.

Britain: Brown announces pull-out from Iraq, more troops to Afghanistan

By Harvey Thompson and Julie Hyland, 18 December 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a “surprise” visit to Iraq yesterday, to announce a withdrawal of UK forces by July 2009.

Britain: Jury verdict over killing of Jean Charles de Menezes demolishes police lies

By Paul Mitchell, 16 December 2008

Jurors have rejected police claims that Jean Charles de Menezes was lawfully killed and returned an open verdict. The decision was the most damaging outcome possible for the Metropolitan Police after the coroner ruled out the possibility of an unlawful killing verdict.

Britain: Labour seeks draconian congestion charge for Greater Manchester

By Robert Stevens and Joe Newham, 11 December 2008

Some 1.9 million people in the Greater Manchester region are being asked to accept a £5 a day congestion charge in tomorrow’s referendum.

The tragic death of Baby P

By Julie Hyland, 4 December 2008

There have been mountains of coverage on Baby P’s death, much of it bordering on the pornographic. But if other children are to have the protection they require, there has to be some comprehension of what went wrong, how, and why.

Britain: The political issues raised by the arrest of Damian Green MP

By Julie Hyland, 2 December 2008

A number of political issues are raised by the arrest of Conservative Member of Parliament Damian Green by anti-terrorist officers.

Britain: Woolworths and MFI go bust

By Robert Stevens, 1 December 2008

In the past week, two of Britain’s most well established retail chains, Woolworths and MFI, have gone bust.

A budget for British business from Darling and Brown: Too little, far too late

By Chris Marsden, 26 November 2008

Extraordinary claims are being made for Chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report and even more extraordinary hopes are being pinned on it.

Sweden: Left Party seeks coalition with Social Democrats

By Jordan Shilton, 26 November 2008

Recent months have seen stepped-up efforts by the Swedish Social Democrats to negotiate terms for a potential coalition after the next general election, due in 2010.

Britain: More revelations about secret shoot-to-kill policy at de Menezes inquest

By Paul Mitchell, 25 November 2008

The inquest into the shooting of innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes on July 22, 2005, has revealed more about Britain’s secret shoot-to-kill policy.

Britain: New round of job losses announced as part of global cutbacks

By Julie Hyland, 24 November 2008

Last week saw a fresh wave of job losses in the UK, some 3,600 in total, as part of mainly global cutbacks. The latest announcements mean that in the last fortnight, major household names have announced job cuts totalling some 25,000.

British court ruling increases risk of home repossession

By Mike Head, 17 November 2008

A British court ruling allowing lenders to seize properties after only two missed mortgage payments has made a mockery of claims by the Brown government to be protecting ordinary people from losing their homes.

British corporate giants axe thousands of jobs

By Mike Head, 15 November 2008

Major British firms are slashing thousands of jobs, but not just because of the economy’s slide into recession. They are also using the slump to carry through permanent job-cutting and restructuring.

British banks: Feeding frenzy at taxpayers’ expense

By Jean Shaoul, 11 November 2008

Two former Scottish banking executives have announced a bid to take control of the failed bank HBOS to stop the government-brokered takeover by Lloyds TSB and keep it “independent”—at taxpayers’ expense.

Guardian journalist on Obama’s election: An “armed insurrection” averted

By Chris Marsden, 10 November 2008

One of the most extraordinary statements made on Barak Obama’s victory in the presidential elections was by Martin Kettle in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Sweden bails out banks as economy enters recession

By Jordan Shilton, 8 November 2008

Sweden’s Alliance government has announced that 1.5 trillion kronor (approx. $200 billion) has been made available to bail out the banking sector.

Britain: Labour beats off Scottish National Party challenge in Glenrothes by-election

By Steve James, 8 November 2008

The Labour Party’s unexpected by-election victory in the Glenrothes constituency in Fife, Scotland, followed widespread forecasts that it would lose the previously safe seat to the Scottish National Party.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

7 November 2008

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

Hopes and illusions dominate European reaction to Obama victory

By Ulrich Rippert, 6 November 2008

European leaders and media have reacted to the election victory of Barack Obama with a mixture of illusions and expectations.