As the various countries that make up the European Union struggle with austerity measures, British Prime Minister David Cameron says there is worse to come.
Speaking on a BBC television chat show, David Cameron said that he felt that the crisis was only just reaching the halfway point and that there would be much more pain to come. Reported in the Daily Mail, Mr Cameron said:
"It's going to be a very long and painful process in the Eurozone as they work out do they want a single currency with a single economic policy and all the things that go with it, or are they going to have something quite different?"The Guardian reports on Monday April 30 that inflation across the Eurozone has reached 2.6 percent for the month of April, higher than had been predicted by analysts and economists. The same report says that consumer spending in Greece is falling drastically, with retail sales falling by 13 percent in February, compared to the same period in 2011.
Spain's unemployment rate hit a new record on Friday April 27 with just under 25 percent of people now unemployed. Analysts at BCG Partners warn that Spain is "close to imploding".
In the Netherlands, the minority government was toppled following a disagreement over the depth of cuts that should be made in an economy that currently is one of the few in Europe to still enjoy a Triple A credit rating. The Independent, in its leading opinion article, also points out that everything in the French garden isn't rosy with the Presidential elections looking to be a major battle.
The rise of the the far right party of Marine Le Pen is a reflection of a scenario being played out across Europe with extreme parties, especially far right, becoming far more popular as the austerity measures bite. The Greek elections coming up in the next week are expected to see a big increase for the far right party 'Golden Dawn' who are expected to win around 5 percent of the vote, giving them at least one seat in the Greek parliament.
Meanwhile, Spain is firmly at the centre of attention. There were demonstrations across the country to protest about the massive cuts which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has made in the health and education budgets at the weekend. Señor Rajoy has announced that he will be unveiling new cuts and reforms every Friday and that they will be major. He said at the Popular Party Congress in Madrid:
“I understand perfectly. A lot of people cannot understand the decisions that I am taking at the moment. But the problem is the crisis, unemployment, the recession, and disordered public finances. We have to make structural changes and to take root and branch measures.” Having said there would be no tax rises during his election campaign, he has announced that there will a rise in value-added tax in 2013 as well as taxes on petrol, alcohol and tobacco.
The level of anger is rising across Europe with only Germany seeming to be able to rise above the economic disaster which surrounds it. Demonstrations are likely to get larger and more violent as citizens find themselves out of work, struggling to feed their families and suffering due to health cuts. Over all hangs the spectre of the complete collapse of the Euro with the fall out, should that happen, affecting the economy of the entire world.