Southern Europe

Banks and EU leaders pressure Greece for more austerity

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 January 2012

International financial institutions and European leaders are demanding more of the budget cuts that have had such consequences for Greek workers over the past three years.

Spain’s judge Baltasar Garzón on trial for investigating Franco crimes

By Vicky Short, 20 January 2012

Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón appeared in court January 17 in the first of three cases aimed at silencing him and thwarting his investigations.

Death toll likely to rise in Italian cruise ship tragedy

By Stefan Steinberg, 19 January 2012

Beyond the role played by the captain, an examination of the broader issues in the capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise ship suggests that it was an accident waiting to happen.

Eleven dead, 29 missing as cruise ship runs aground in Italy

By James Brewer, 17 January 2012

Rescuers are still searching for survivors in a capsized ocean liner off the coast of Tuscany.

Unelected prime minister demands more sacrifices from Greek workers

By Stefan Steinberg, 7 January 2012

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with trade union leaders on Wednesday to win their support for a new round of austerity.

New Italian government tilts foreign policy towards Washington

By Marianne Arens, 6 January 2012

The new head of the Italian government has made significant changes in the country’s foreign policy.

Italian government attacks labour protection laws

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 5 January 2012

Just before Christmas the Italian parliament adopted a package of austerity measures totalling €80 billion in cuts, hitting pensioners, workers and the socially disadvantaged.

Spain’s Popular Party government announces unprecedented budget cuts

By Alejandro López, 5 January 2012

The new right-wing Popular Party government, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, has announced budget cuts totaling 16.5 billion euros.

Second recession looms in Spain

By Alejandro López, 29 December 2011

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos warned on Monday that Spain’s economy had suffered a “relapse” at the end of this year, and that the renewed weakness would continue into 2012.

Troika demands Greece make billions more in spending cuts

By Robert Stevens, 22 December 2011

Days after the unelected government of Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos passed a drastic austerity budget, the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank are demanding billions more in cuts.

Spain: Regional governments step up attacks on living standards

By Alejandro López, 21 December 2011

Since the victory of Mariano Rajoy’s right-wing Popular Party in the November 20 general election, regional governments have accelerated budget cuts.

One man’s campaign to expose corruption in Spain’s health service

By Paul Mitchell, 16 December 2011

Marcelino Victoria Sánchez, a Spanish air traffic controller, has been waging a determined campaign to expose corruption in Spain’s health service.

Far-right fanatic guns down immigrants in Florence

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 December 2011

An Italian author with links to the extreme right shot down two immigrants and seriously wounded three others in Florence on Tuesday before taking his own life.

New fears of Greek default and new austerity demands against Greek workers

By Robert Stevens, 15 December 2011

The unelected government of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is facing a possible default on the nation’s mounting debt as the international banks demand further concessions in return for loans.

New Croatian government to implement big business measures

By Ante Dotto, 13 December 2011

The newly elected Social Democratic-led coalition in Croatia will step up the austerity measures demanded by the financial markets.

Portuguese workers hit by massive austerity package

By Paul Mitchell, 12 December 2011

The recent budget, together with earlier cuts, will reportedly cut public sector take-home pay by 27 percent next year compared to 2010.

Greek government imposes new austerity budget

By Robert Stevens, 10 December 2011

Early Wednesday morning, the unelected Greek “technocratic” government of former central banker Lucas Papademos passed a brutal austerity budget.

Slovenian election brings businessman to power, more cuts promised

By Markus Salzmann, 10 December 2011

The Positive Slovenia party won the early parliamentary election held in the Adriatic nation last Sunday with 29 percent of the vote.

Italy: Technocrat Monti introduces new drastic austerity package

By Stefan Steinberg, 6 December 2011

In response to pressure from financial markets and European leaders, Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Monti, has moved quickly to introduce new austerity measures.

Italy’s Fiat terminates collective bargaining agreements

By Marc Wells, 2 December 2011

The decision by Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne to terminate collective bargaining agreements starting by January 2012 is an historic attack on basic rights won by workers over decades of bitter struggle.

Mass layoffs in Greece’s public sector

By Christoph Dreier, 1 December 2011

On Monday, the new Greek government began implementing mass forced retirements in the public sector.

Greek police make first raid on university since fall of military junta

By Robert Stevens, 24 November 2011

Last Thursday, the newly imposed Greek government utilized PASOK’s abolition of the Academic Asylum law to authorise the police entry into a public university for the first time since 1982.

Spain: Inequality soars to record levels

By Alejandro López and Paul Mitchell, 23 November 2011

The victory of Mariano Rajoy’s right-wing Popular Party in Sunday’s general election is set to dramatically worsen the ongoing pauperisation of much of Spain’s population.

Social democrats pave way for return of right-wing Popular Party in Spain

By Paul Mitchell, 22 November 2011

With the count complete, the right-wing Popular Party (PP) won 186 seats in Spain’s 350-seat Congress in Sunday’s election compared with 154 in the last parliament.

The threat of dictatorship in Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 21 November 2011

The manner in which the new Greek government was imposed and the forces upon which it relies underscore the mounting threat to the democratic rights of working people in Greece and throughout Europe.

Spain’s “Anti-Capitalist” electoral coalition: An anti-socialist trap for the working class

By Alejandro López, 19 November 2011

The “Anti-Capitalist” coalition is standing in Spain’s general election to prepare a political trap for workers and youth.

Italy: The cabinet of Mario Monti—a government of the banks

By Marianne Arens, 18 November 2011

Italy’s new emergency government is a government of big business and the international banks.

Italian “left” supports new Prime Minister Mario Monti

By Marc Wells, 18 November 2011

The appointment of Mario Monti for the post of premiership and the support given by the “left” parties and trade union organizations pave the way to unprecedented attacks on the working class.

Berlusconi and the Italian “left”

By Peter Schwarz, 16 November 2011

The most important factor in Berlusconi’s rise to prominence was the impotence, cowardice and unending betrayals carried out by the country’s official “left” opposition.

Politicians cover up austerity measures planned after Spanish elections

By Vicky Short and Paul Mitchell, 16 November 2011

On Sunday, Spain is holding a general election, four months earlier than scheduled.

Newly-installed Greek government pledges continued cuts

By Christoph Dreier, 15 November 2011

The new Greek government under Prime Minister Papademos announced further austerity measures. It relies not only on the social-democratic PASOK, but also on the extreme right wing LAOS party.

Resignation of Italy’s Berlusconi clears way for “technocratic” government chosen by the banks

By Stefan Steinberg, 14 November 2011

The resignation of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi clears the way for the appointment of a “technocratic” government led by the economist Mario Monti, in accordance with the demands of the international banks.

European Union presses for change of government in Italy

By Peter Schwarz, 12 November 2011

Following the example of Greece, Italy is also likely to be governed soon by a technocratic government designated by the international banks.

Greek “left” prepares new trap for the working class

By Christoph Dreier, 12 November 2011

Greece’s trade unions and pseudo-socialist parties are advancing the perspective of a bourgeois “left” unity government to smother working class opposition to the new technocratic regime installed by the EU, the IMF and the banks.

Favorite of European banks appointed to head Greek government

By Stefan Steinberg, 11 November 2011

Lucas Papademos is regarded as a safe pair of hands by his banking colleagues—a man who takes his orders directly from the major financial institutions of Europe.

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi announces his resignation

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 10 November 2011

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced his resignation Tuesday evening. He plans to stay in office until the Italian parliament has adopted the austerity measures demanded by the European Union.

No national government in Greece as talks break up

By Chris Marsden, 10 November 2011

After three days of negotiations, Greece has still not gotten a new national unity government.

Talks on Greek national government stagger on without agreement

By Chris Marsden, 9 November 2011

Yesterday, Greece’s political establishment again failed to meet the demands of the European Union and the United States to announce the formation of a national government.

Croatia’s ruling party in crisis

By Markus Salzmann, 9 November 2011

One month before the forthcoming general election in Croatia, the ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), is embroiled in a deep political crisis.

Greece and the dictatorship of finance

By Peter Schwarz, 9 November 2011

The events that have rocked Greece in recent days are a lesson and a warning for all of Europe.

Major powers successfully dictate regime change in Greece

By Chris Marsden, 8 November 2011

Just three days after he won a vote of confidence, Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou is out and a government of “national unity” is being formed—combining PASOK and the main conservative opposition, New Democracy.

Greek government crisis triggers new round of budget cuts in Europe

By Christoph Dreier, 8 November 2011

The government crisis and the attacks on the working class in Greece were the prelude to a new round of social cuts throughout Europe.

Greek prime minister forced out in euro crisis deal

By Patrick Martin, 7 November 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed to resign Sunday and be replaced by a coalition government of national unity that will have a mandate from the bankers and European heads of state to impose even more drastic austerity measures on the working people of Greece.

Papandreou pledges Greek government of national unity

By Chris Marsden, 5 November 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a vote of no confidence last night, but only by pledging immediate moves to form a national unity government.

Papandreou cancels referendum on Greek austerity plan

By Peter Schwarz, 4 November 2011

Under massive pressure from Germany and France, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has cancelled his plan for a referendum on the austerity measures demanded by the European Union.

US business magazine: Military coup best solution for Greece

By Bill Van Auken, 4 November 2011

Forbes magazine, which bills itself as “Information for the World's Business Leaders,” has published an article on its web site entitled “The real Greek solution: a military coup.”

Are Obama and NATO plotting a military coup in Greece?

By Bill Van Auken, 3 November 2011

The sudden dismissal of the Greek military’s high command Tuesday night, amid international uproar over a proposal for a referendum on an EU debt plan, has all the hallmarks of an action taken to preempt the threat of a military coup.

Europe on the brink as Greece staggers towards default

By Chris Marsden, 3 November 2011

The G20 summit beginning today has been thrown into desperate crisis over the increasingly likely failure of Greece to meet the terms of the latest tranche of loans from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Coup fears in Greece over referendum plan

By Peter Schwarz, 2 November 2011

Prime Minister Papandreou sacked the Greek military high command Tuesday amid mounting furor over his proposal for a referendum on an EU bailout plan that spells years of punishing austerity for Greek workers.

Spain faces economic catastrophe

By Vicky Short and Paul Mitchell, 2 November 2011

Economic growth has slowed and unemployment has soared in Spain, raising fears that the euro zone’s fourth largest economy is in danger of a full-scale debt crisis.

Italian government prepares historic attack on workers

By Marc Wells, 2 November 2011

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi submitted last Wednesday a proposal for the so-called “structural reforms for growth.”

Spain: Basque separatist ETA declares end of armed struggle

By Alejandro López, 28 October 2011

The Basque separatist group Basque Homeland and Freedom (Euskadi ta Askatasuna, ETA) last week declared “the definitive end to its armed activity”.

The way forward in Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 25 October 2011

Greek trade unions are doing all they can to sabotage a movement of workers against the government.

PASOK approves further austerity measures for Greece

By Robert Stevens, 21 October 2011

The Greek social democratic PASOK government has given final approval to a new, brutal austerity programme in the face of massive popular opposition

More than 100,000 protest in Athens

By Christoph Dreiser, 21 October 2011

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to protestors in Athens during the second day of a 48-hour general strike.

Massive protests on first day of Greek general strike

By Robert Stevens and Christoph Dreier, 20 October 2011

Greece was hit on Wednesday, the first day of a 48-hour general strike, with the biggest protests since the fall of the military regime in 1974.

“We need the help of workers in Europe,” says Athens protester

By our reporters, 20 October 2011

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to workers and young people protesting in Athens.

New wave of job cuts at Italian Fiat plants

By Marianne Arens, 20 October 2011

Italian unions refuse to organize cross-border solidarity to defend jobs and conditions and back lower wages and poorer working conditions in Italy on condition that job cuts are carried out elsewhere.

Greek refuse workers threatened with army intervention on eve of general strike

By Robert Stevens, 19 October 2011

Greece’s social democratic PASOK government is preparing to use the army against striking Athens refuse workers and threatening mass arrests ahead of today’s 48-hour general strike.

WikiLeaks documents expose disaster created by the US and EU in Bosnia

By Ante Dotto, 17 October 2011

The political deadlock in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) represents the systemic failure of the entire official political framework in the region and a foreign policy disaster for the state's international backers, the US and EU.

Growing strike wave in Greece

By Robert Stevens, 15 October 2011

Strikes and protests escalated throughout Greece this week as workers protested against the austerity programme of the social democratic PASOK government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Financial officials increase pressure on Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 13 October 2011

In its preliminary summary, the troika paints a bleak picture of Greece’s economic development and seeks to pressure Athens to implement cuts and deregulation.

Greece’s health system faces collapse

By Robert Stevens, 13 October 2011

The austerity measures being forced onto the Greek population by the ruling social democratic PASOK government are literally killing people.

Spain’s main parties attempt to re-introduce censorship of public broadcasting

By Alejandro López, 11 October 2011

The administrative board of the state-run Spanish Radio and Television Corporation (Corporación Radiotelevisión Española, RTVE) has agreed a plan to give themselves access to the corporation’s iNews system.

Italian government closes refugee camp on Lampedusa

By Marianne Arens, 10 October 2011

The recent closure of the refugee camp on the Italian island of Lampedusa will lead to more deaths added to the list of hundreds who have died trying to escape war-torn Libya.

European Union prepares for Greek state bankruptcy

By Peter Schwarz, 8 October 2011

The European institutions have clearly changed course in relation to Greece. Instead of the “rescue” of the country, they are now discussing its bankruptcy, and reducing the risk of contagion.

Tens of thousands strike in Greece as military threatens to intervene against anti-austerity protests

By Robert Stevens, 6 October 2011

Tens of thousands of workers, pensioners and youth protested throughout Greece Wednesday in a 24-hour public sector strike.

Socialism and the global economic crisis

By Stefan Steinberg and Barry Grey, 6 October 2011

Three years into the severest world economic crisis since the 1930s, stock markets around the world are once again tumbling as the capitalist system plunges into depression.

European markets plummet on fears of a new banking crisis

By Christoph Dreier, 5 October 2011

European stock markets fell sharply Tuesday and the euro hit new lows amid reports of an impending default of the Greek economy and fears of a rapidly developing recession and renewed banking crisis on both sides of the Atlantic.

Greece to miss deficit target and impose more cuts on workers

By Christoph Dreier, 3 October 2011

The social-democratic government of Greece bowed to pressure from the IMF and European authorities and cut the jobs of 30,000 civil servants.

Spain: PSOE and PP collude to rush through austerity legislation

By Vicky Short, 3 October 2011

The Spanish Socialist Workers Party government and Popular Party opposition are colluding to ensure the legislation required to further impoverish working people is rushed through parliament.

Italy prepares “left” government of austerity

By Marc Wells, 30 September 2011

In order to continue the assault on workers, the Italian ruling class is looking to the formation of a more “left” government, not affected by Berlusconi’s sordid political and personal record.

Greek parliament approves “property tax” as PASOK pledges more pain

By Robert Stevens, 29 September 2011

The Greek parliament’s approval of a new property tax marks an escalation in the austerity measures that are already destroying the jobs, living standards and futures of millions of working people.

Strikes and protests mount against austerity in Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 27 September 2011

Indifferent to the suffering of the Greek people and intent on pursuing a class-war policy across Europe, the “troika” experts agree that "on the ground, things will get a lot worse."

No new proposals from IMF on European debt crisis

By Barry Grey, 26 September 2011

The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington DC concluded Sunday with no agreement on specific measures to avert a default by Greece and the threat of a new financial meltdown and global depression.

European powers discuss possible bankruptcy of Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 24 September 2011

Neither the austerity measures nor the latest tranche of the “rescue packet” will resolve the crisis gripping Greece, which faces looming bankruptcy.

Slovenian government ousted by vote of no confidence

By Markus Salzmann, 24 September 2011

After months of continual parliamentary crisis, the Slovenian minority government led by Premier Borut Pahor was ousted from office following a vote of no confidence on Tuesday.

Greek workers strike, protest against brutal austerity measures

By David Walsh, 23 September 2011

Tens of thousands of Greek public transport workers, teachers, civil servants and air traffic controllers walked off the job Thursday to protest the latest round of austerity measures announced by the PASOK government.

Spanish teachers and students protest education cuts

By Alejandro López, 22 September 2011

This week, teachers and students across Spain are protesting against education cuts.

The carve-up of Greece

By Barry Grey, 20 September 2011

The European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, acting in behalf of the international banks, are demanding a new round of austerity measures against the Greek working class.

Credit rating agencies threaten to downgrade Spain

By Paul Mitchell, 20 September 2011

Fitch Ratings warned last week that Spain’s credit rating could be downgraded because the country’s regions have fallen behind schedule on deficit-reduction targets, economic growth had been poor and public funds to rescue banks had been larger than forecast.

European finance ministers delay loan, press Greece for deeper cuts

By Barry Grey, 17 September 2011

European Union finance ministers delayed a decision on disbursing an 8 billion euro loan needed to avert a default by Greece next month and rejected proposals by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to expand the EU's bailout fund.

Greek workers plunged into social misery

By Robert Stevens, 15 September 2011

With Greece verging on default, the PASOK government is escalating its austerity programme against an already pauperised population.

Italy moves to secure its share of the booty in Libya

By Marianne Arens, 14 September 2011

Italian business and political circles take for granted their right to decide on the future of the oil and gas wealth of the country’s former colony, Libya.

European markets, banks staggered as Greece slides toward default

By Barry Grey, 13 September 2011

The crisis of the common European currency and the region’s banking system intensified Monday amid mounting fears that Greece could soon default.

Riot police battle austerity protesters in Greece

By Patrick Martin, 12 September 2011

The fighting took place as the Greek prime minister gave his annual address on economic policy.

Spanish parliament passes constitutional amendment capping public deficit

By Alejandro López, 10 September 2011

The Spanish Constitution has been amended with a new article limiting the public deficit.

One-day national strike in Italy against austerity measures

By Marc Wells, 7 September 2011

Hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike Tuesday and took to the streets to protest against the assault on their social rights.

Italian ex-leftists and the new austerity measures

By Marc Wells, 29 August 2011

The response of the Italian ex-leftists organized in Sinistra Critica to the government’s austerity measures reveals their essential approval for the social cuts, their class collaboration and nationalism.

Spain’s opportunist United Left forms “broad front”

By Paul Mitchell, 29 August 2011

The United Left (IU) has formed a so-called broad front in order to oppose the necessary creation of a socialist party of the Spanish working class.

Slovenia government on verge of collapse

By Markus Salzmann, 24 August 2011

The Slovenian government led by Premier Borut Pahor faces collapse following unpopular austerity measures and allegations of corruption.

Pope steps up right-wing crusade in Spain

By Alejandro López and Paul Mitchell, 23 August 2011

Pope Benedict XVI visited Spain last week to attend the World Youth Day 2011, held in Madrid.

Spanish mayor desecrates mausoleum of fascist victims

By Alejandro López, 17 August 2011

The right-wing Popular Party mayor of Poyales del Hoyo has desecrated a mausoleum containing the remains of 10 victims executed by the fascists during the Spanish Civil War.

Austerity measures spell social catastrophe in Greece

By Katerina Selin, 13 August 2011

A look at the social situation in Greece reveals the thoroughly inhuman character of the austerity measures demanded by the banks, EU and IMF.

Tensions remain high after clashes on Kosovo-Serbia border

By Ante Dotto, 9 August 2011

Tensions remain high after violent clashes broke out again at the end of last month on the Kosovo-Serbia border.

Protests continue as the police leave Madrid’s Puerta del Sol

By Alejandro López, 8 August 2011

Protests by indignados (angry ones) of the 15-M movement have continued since last Tuesday, when 300 police forcibly evicted the 90 people remaining in Madrid’s main square, Puerta del Sol.

Italy prepares new cuts after stock market panic

By Marc Wells, 8 August 2011

The Italian government is preparing further social austerity measures in response to the Thursday stock market crash and demands from investors for more anti-worker cuts.

Spain: Major attack on living standards will follow November election

By Alejandro López and Paul Mitchell, 5 August 2011

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has announced a snap general election four months earlier than scheduled, on November 20.

Protests held against police eviction of “indignados” from Madrid’s Puerta del Sol

By Alejandro López, 4 August 2011

On Tuesday police forcibly evicted the remaining indignado protesters from the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid.

The calling of early elections in Spain

By Peter Schwarz, 3 August 2011

Under growing pressure from the financial markets, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Louis Zapatero has announced early elections for November 20, four months before the March 2012 deadline.