Protests broke out across Europe last week over soaring inflation and wages that are not keeping up with the cost of goods, leading to a “New World Disorder” that will result in widespread civil unrest that will likely only get worse.
FRANCE: Protesters called on Paris to increase wages to offset the one-two combination of rising inflation and energy prices.
The protests were held in major cities across the country and included teachers, railway workers, and health-care employees who say they cannot survive in the current climate.
Transit workers in Paris held a strike against looming pension cuts. WSWS.org reported that the strike resulted in massive traffic jams. Five metro lines were completely closed.
“Inflation has been going up for a long time. … You look at food prices, they went up 15 or 25 percent. It is becoming really critical,” Faouzi Abou Rayan, a CGT delegate in Paris mass transit, told the outlet. “Our wages have been frozen for 10 years, so for 10 years we have lost purchasing power.”
He said energy prices have increased so dramatically in the country, that he has yet to turn on his heating at home.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the protests are a major challenge to President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership as Europe faces recession.
Macron is not in the position of power that he once had after June elections saw his government lose its majority in parliament.
The report noted that even before the Russian invasion, France was dealing with energy supply-chain issues.
The report said Paris has spent 71.6 billion euros to help residents deal with high energy bills, but just one in 10 in the country say the measures were effective.
Thursday marked a nationwide day of walkouts.
Victor Mendez, the president of the National Student Union of France at the University of Paris in Nanterre, told EuroNews that he feels “personally affected and in solidarity” with the workers.
“Most of the students work in addition to their studies, and after (classes) we go to work, and we see our family struggling, so it’s our struggle too. Most of the families are having a hard time buying a box of eggs or bread or even meat, that’s not possible in France, “the world’s sixth strongest country.” (See “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD: FRENCH CAN’T SWALLOW SURGING PRICES.”)
French authorities said about 30,400 people gathered across the country on the national day of protest, while the CGT union, the largest in the country, put the number at over 100,000.
GREECE: Thousands of workers in Greece walked off their jobs last week in protest over soaring inflation and stagnant wages, leading to small clashes between protesters and riot police.
The rallies were held across the island on Wednesday and in cities like Athens and Thessaloniki.
Some protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police. The officers used stun grenades and tear gas on some of the protesters. EuroNews reported that inflation in Greece hit an all-time high of 10.7 percent in October. Economists believe that Athens will avoid recession next year, with its GDP anticipated to grow 1 percent.
But workers in the country said they feel disenfranchised and do not believe the government is doing enough to assist them. The protests were organized by the All Workers Militant Front, the Communist Party of Greece, and the Communist Youth of Greece.
Last month, Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, met with Nikos Dendias, his Greek counterpart, in Kyiv and the Greek envoy vowed continued assistance.
TRENDPOST: It is worth noting that at the heart of the Greek protests, besides what many unions see as a general persecution of workers under the New Democracy-led government, is what they see as the EU’s influence over Kostis Hatzidakis, the labor minister.
“Today’s great nationwide strike sends the message to all of Greece, to all of Europe, that the Greek people, their movement will not become accomplices, will not show any tolerance to the anti-grassroots policy of the rulers, the other parties of big business, energy poverty and EU policies, and the rot of the capitalist system,” Dimitris Koutsoumbas, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Greece, said, according to The People’s Dispatch.
BELGIUM: Brussels was hit with widespread protests last week—mainly focused on inflation and energy prices.
Reports said workers walked out of their jobs at shopping centers and supermarkets. Rail workers walked out of their jobs, which caused massive traffic delays and flights were canceled at Brussels airport.
Het Laatste Nieuws, a newspaper in the country, also reported that workers at main ports in Antwerp and Ghent went on strike “en masse,” which paralyzed shipping in the country.
The Associated Press reported that about two-thirds of the staff at hospitals in the Wallonia region went on strike, forcing non-urgent operations and appointments to be delayed.
These workers are calling on Brussels to intervene and reduce prices for everyday goods.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has forecast that since the start of the war that the Western sanctions would end up hurting European countries more than Moscow. And now, finally, the mainstream economists say the trend is only going to get worse as the rising costs of staple goods are impacting society.
The energy crisis created by the Ukraine war and Western sanctions will prolong not only inflation, but also the continent’s recession, realizing the ECB’s fears that inflation will become embedded across the economy.
As we have reported, the sanctions imposed by NATO and the United States on Russia have not punished Putin as U.S. President Joe Biden predicted, instead they have ravaged businesses and individuals. Indeed, thanks to the sanctions, in Germany, which once received some 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia, its energy prices spiked 43 percent year-to-date… 41.9 percent for the rest of the euro-currency nations. Overall, inflation hit 10.7 percent according to EU statistics. The Trends Journal has noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin is banking on a long, cold winter in Europe for public support for Ukraine to wane.