Austerity measures causing Europe to decline says Red Cross
Austerity measures adopted by European governments over the last four years have led Europe to decline, according to an extensive study published on Thursday by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The report depicts a gloomy future and criticises policies put in place as a response to the debt crisis with mass unemployment, poverty and social exclusion all on the rise.
“Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it,” says the 68-page report.
“The long-term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface. The problems caused will be felt for decades even if the economy turns for the better in the near future … We wonder if we as a continent really understand what has hit us,” it continued.
The jobs crisis is one of the most serious issues facing the EU and the Eurozone. Of more than 26 million unemployed people in the EU, those out of work for longer than a year stands at 11 million, almost double the level compared to five years ago when the international financial crisis broke out in the US.
In Greece and Spain, adult children with families are moving back in with their parents causing several generations to live in one household with one breadwinner between them. It is now also common sight to find formerly prosperous middle-class men and women sleeping rough in Milan, Italy’s financial capital.
The study also highlights the risk of increased social unrest and extremism. “The rate at which unemployment figures have risen in the past 24 months alone is an indication that the crisis is deepening. Combined with increasing living costs, this is a dangerous combination,” the study said.
Conditions in Europe have declined significantly over past four years, with millions more Europeans unable to obtain adequate medical care. The cost of living has become hard for families struggling to purchase necessities in the face of price rises and stagnant wages.
The amount of people dependent on Red Cross food distributions in 22 of the surveyed countries has increased by 75% between 2009 and 2012. “More people are getting poor, the poor are getting poorer,” concluded the study.