Photo by Saikofish

The latest phase of the Euro crisis

10th October 2011 Socialist Action 0

By Tom O’Donnell

The foolish vanity that the current crisis in the European economy and financial markets was confined to the so-called ‘peripheral’ economies of the Euro Zone has been exposed as complacent self-delusion. Among the recent development the large Belgian-French-Luxembourg bank Dexia is threatened with bankruptcy despite already having been bailed out by the governments. Crucially, yields on French and Belgian government debt have climbed to reflect the increased risk of taxpayer funds being used for further bank bailouts. Their yield premia over Germany is now equivalent to the premium paid by Irish and Greek governments as the crisis began to unfold. The crisis has migrated from the ‘periphery’ to the ‘core’.

Photo: Rødt nytt

The violence of Europe’s far-right

7th August 2011 Socialist Action 0

By Andrew Williams

 

July’s terrorist atrocity directed against the Norwegian Labour Party has been a lethal reminder of the role violence plays in Europe’s far-right. The twin attacks in Oslo and at the Utoya island youth camp resulted in 77 deaths, primarily of young people.

Cuts, socialists and international politics in Europe

24th January 2011 Socialist Action 0

By Bryan Connor

During the international financial crisis US imperialism has succeeded in striking further blows against its European and Japanese capitalist competitors. Data on the US economy to be published later this week will probably show US GDP has regained its pre-crisis level. That means an average zero percent US growth for three years – a terrible performance. But Japanese and European production are even worse, remaining below their previous levels four years into the crisis. The US, however, has been pursuing policies that worsen the economic position of its European and Japanese competitors – pushing Japan to engage in confrontational policies with its largest trading partner, China, and in Europe both cheering on every step of belt tightening in countries such as Greece and Ireland and trying to break up the Euro.

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The economic crisis and Eastern Europe

24th January 2010 Socialist Action 0

By Jack Johnston

The global financial crisis has not only disturbed the previous course of capitalist economic development but also stalled many of its political projects. An example of this is the process of European Union expansion into the former non-capitalist states in Eastern Europe. While prior to the crisis these economies were enjoying high growth and falling unemployment, many have now been plunged into a severe downturn. This not only threatens their own internal political stability but also shakes the foundations upon which EU enlargement has been built.

The eastern enlargement of the EU, in 2004 and 2007, should be understood within the context of the restoration of capitalism that occurred throughout Eastern Europe from 1989. The economic collapse and social impoverishment, caused by the re-introduction of capitalism, were most severe and prolonged in the countries of the ex-Soviet Union. Yet the Central-Eastern European (CEE) states still suffered huge socio-economic declines. Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, only Poland had crossed its pre-transition level of GDP; the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia were just returning to this level, whilst the Baltic States still had a GDP level 20–40% below that achieved at the end of ‘communism’. Consequently poverty, unemployment and social inequalities all sharply increased, leaving millions of people with a standard of living worse than they had before capitalism was reintroduced.