Political shifts in a number of EU countries are a clear sign that resistance to austerity is intensifying
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit TD and Finance spokesperson for the United Left Alliance, said that the political shifts taking place across Europe are an expression of resistance by ordinary people against fiscal austerity policies.
Every week, more and more economic indicators are revealing the Eurozone’s slide into deeper recession. The European Central bank today made its policy for Ireland clear – there will be no change to the terms of the Anglo promissory note which means ordinary people are expected to pay for banks’ debts.
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Today it was also announced that Britain has returned to recession and Britain is Ireland’s biggest trading partner. A further indication that economic growth is a long way off if austerity continues.
Politically a shift is taking place with resistance growing in many countries. In France and Holland the electorate is shifting its allegiances to tell mainstream parties that they’ve had enough of counter-productive austerity measures. The Czech Republic capital of Prague is seeing the largest protests since the Velvet Revolution.
François Hollande’s first round victory in France, along with that of Jean-Luc Melenchon of the Leftist Front which alone garnered 11% of the vote, is a clear sign that people are looking for serious change. Melenchon is the candidate who had vowed to challenge the austerity pact and introduce higher tax on the very wealthy. Similarly Francois Holland’s socialist party campaigned to reduce austerity measures and renegotiate the fiscal compact.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said, “People in France have voted away from the mainstream parties in one way or another precisely because they are looking for an alternative to the cuts that have depleted their living standards.”
“The very high voter turn-out in France is another sign that people have had enough of politicians whose only answer to fiscal deficits is that of slashing incomes and imposing public sector cuts.”
“In the Netherlands, one of the Eurozone’s most credit worthy economies, the government collapsed again under pressure from below which rejected a harsh austerity budget. If the Dutch, who are so fiscally conservative are now rejecting austerity, then how on Earth is Ireland supposed to pass the harsh budgets that we have been promised?”
“Further to the East, Prague has seen the biggest popular protests in decades – again directed against spending cuts by the Czech government.”
“EU rules on fiscal governance should be designed to serve the people of Europe and not the other way around. I urge people to refuse to be bullied into voting for the strait-jacket austerity treaty. Resistance to austerity is intensifying all over Europe.”