Very, very slowly this story is creeping up the news agenda, but it may be violence that will be the only way it hits the headlines.

Tomorrow there will be local and regional elections in Spain, but while the rest of Europe worry about figures on a page and the fate of the Euro, the people of Spain, and those protesting in Madrid, have far more pressing concerns to complain about.

Lets for one moment imagine a time in Britain where we had:

Youth Unemployment – 45%
Unemployment rate at – 21.3% (the highest in the EU)
4.9 million jobless
Austerity measures increasing the retirement age
Reduction in civil servant pay
Austerity measures to reduce access to Health care and education

There are a myriad of reasons for discontent in Spain.  There is a feeling of discontent with the two party system that has a stranglehold over their politics.  That politicians are only in it for themselves.  That the public are paying the price for other peoples incompetence and the irresponsible actions of the banking sector.

An overwhelming feeling that Spain is one country that did not benefit in the boom years in the way others did.

These demonstrations are about much more than austerity.  They are about politics and the direction the country is going.  Can a country really survive 45% youth unemployment?

But perhaps we are missing the bigger picture even than the 10 day demonstrations in Madrid.

Demonstrations are now ongoing in Italy, yet up to now they have not been subjected to the severe austerity cuts of other EU countries.  There are fears of more  unrest in Greece and Portugal as fears of an “adjustment” in the debt arrangements moves ever closer.

The snowball effect that is the EU crises is still rolling.  Greece is getting further into trouble; fears that Italy will be next and just the prospect that Spain could need anything like a bail out is on the horizon could send the EU into a spin that will leave the Euro reeling.

This summer is a crucial time, and with people obtaining inspiration from the “Arab Spring”, ordinary people in the EU austerity countries are asking, “why should they suffer”.

Could this be the EU summer of discontent?



  1. The stranglehold that neoliberal economics (read: the rich) has over the world is incredible. Despite the fact that is has crashed and burned and despite widespread protests, it is still limping on.

    We’ll get rid of it eventually – hopefully sooner rather than later.

  2. Pingback: Spaniens ‘tabte’ generation har fundet deres stemme

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