EU on the brink after economist predicts bloc will ‘spark social unrest’ across Europe | World | New


France experienced its fifth weekend of protests this week against President Emmanuel Macron’s COVID-19 pass. Hundreds of people were arrested in Berlin as protests against coronavirus restrictions raged in the city in early August. Italians stood in solidarity with France, opposing similar health passes linked to COVID-19, arguing they infringed on their civil liberties.

While all the unrest has been sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, many say the unrest in Europe is symptomatic of a larger problem: an increasingly homogeneous continent which the EU presides over.

Barbara Kolm, an Austrian economist, has long argued that Brussels will at some point force millions of Europeans to protest against its rules and regulations, especially as the EU and its member states are now closer than ever.

Last year, the countries in the bloc agreed on something that the EU’s predecessor – the European Economic Community – pledged never to commit: shared debt.

And so, for the first time in the history of the bloc, 27 European countries now share the debt as a single entity.

His supporters say that he unites once and for all a Europe in the midst of a disjointed world; its critics say the countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic – those in southern Europe – will now be chained to their wealthier northern neighbors for the indefinite future.

Speaking before all this and five years after the 2008 banking crisis, Ms Kolm predicted that mass social unrest would eventually cover the continent.

Speaking of the various bailouts at the time, especially Greece which suffered tremendously after the crash – and which will receive significant EU COVID-19 funds – she said the mounting pressure would eventually boil over.

Ms Kolm told ReasonTV: “The EU is the biggest and most costly peace project, but eventually it will not keep pace.

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Concerns have also arisen about countries ending up with near-irreparable debt, similar to Greece’s situation after 2008.

Sergio Montanaro, spokesman for Italy’s “Italexit” party, told that the stimulus package “binds countries to the EU”.

Greece has often been used as a case study for how these situations have played out.

The country is expected to repay its last loan to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2040.

A condition of the loans put in place by the EU was that Greece apply severe austerity measures.

The results have been devastating, as youth unemployment has skyrocketed.

Currently, 40 percent of people aged 15 to 24 are unemployed – the average for the same age group across the continent is only 14 percent.

Robert Tombs, the famous British historian, said the flawed nature with which the EU operates regarding loans and grants could in the future lead to more “discontent” across the continent.

The problem, he told, was that for countries like Greece, “there is no obvious way out.”

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