Southern Europe

Spain’s ex-radical groups apologise for unions’ acceptance of social pact

By Paul Stuart and Alejandro López, 16 March 2011

Last month, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Workers Party—PSOE) government, the employers and the trade unions signed a “grand social pact” whose provisions include raising the official retirement age from 65 to 67 by 2013.

Spain’s fake left groups apologise for union agreement to social pact

By Paul Stuart and Alejandro López, 16 March 2011

Spain’s pseudo-left groups again demonstrate their role as apologists for the trade union bureaucracy, opposing any break by the working class with the main union federations.

Portugal: Hundreds of thousands demonstrate against youth unemployment

By Paul Mitchell, 15 March 2011

Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated against youth unemployment in 11 cities across Portugal on Saturday. Noticeable by their absence were political parties and trade unions.

The resurgence of Italy’s imperialist ambitions in Libya

By Marc Wells, 10 March 2011

The Italian warship Libra docked in Benghazi, Libya, as the Italian ruling class calculates how to defend its imperialist interests in Libya.

A reply to a defender of Portugal’s Stalinist trade unions

5 March 2011

WSWS journalist Paul Mitchell replies to a letter sent by a reader from Portugal.

Italian municipalities crippled by financial speculation

By Marc Wells, 3 March 2011

A conflict between local municipalities and banks has sparked in Italian courts and in financial circles, revealing the precariousness of public finances and the collusion between Italy’s ruling elite and financial institutions.

Spain: Basque separatist party moves to renounce armed struggle

By Alejandro López, 1 March 2011

Leaders of the banned separatist group Batasuna, the political wing of ETA, have announced the formation of a new party, “Sortu” (Birth), to contest May elections.

Greek workers mount eighth general strike

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2011

Workers in Greece took part in a general strike Wednesday to protest the austerity measures being imposed by the social democratic government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Italy’s Berlusconi indicted on prostitution, abuse-of-power charges

By Marc Wells and Alex Lantier, 18 February 2011

Judge Cristina Di Censo has indicted Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office.

Spain’s air traffic controllers union backs military policing of its members

By Vicky Short and Paul Stuart, 10 February 2011

On December 4, Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s social-democratic government passed a Royal Decree, imposing a “state of alarm” on 2,200 air traffic controllers.

Italian politicians fear spread of “Egyptian fever”

By Marianne Arens, 9 February 2011

The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are causing anxiety among Italian government and opposition politicians who fear “Egyptian fever” could spread to their side of the Mediterranean.

Spanish trade unions and Zapatero agree to pension cuts

By Alejandro López, 7 February 2011

Spanish workers understand that “social pact” and “reform” are synonymous with austerity measures and cuts.

Italian union calls eight-hour strike at Fiat

By Marianne Arens, 2 February 2011

In Italy, thousands of metal workers went on strike against the new contract with Fiat. The FIOM union called the walkout to let off steam and deflect attention from its own role in the betrayal.

Three killed in protests in Albania

By Markus Salzmann, 27 January 2011

The entire political establishment of Europe is terrified that the protests last week could spread beyond Albania’s borders to its highly politically unstable neighbours in the Balkans.

Berlusconi’s scandals and the proposed “left”-right coalition in Italy

By Marc Wells, 26 January 2011

The scandals involving Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi are being used to divert attention from the crisis engulfing Italy, and also to resolve conflicts within the ruling elite over how to pursue further attacks against the working population.

Spanish unions and middle class “left” back state repression of air traffic controllers

By Alejandro López and Paul Stuart, 22 January 2011

Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s government imposed a “state of alarm” on 2,200 air traffic controllers December 4, subjecting them to military discipline to force them back to work.

The Fiat vote in Turin: Unions push through historic attack on Italian workers

By Marc Wells, 19 January 2011

The new agreement throws back conditions of Italian auto workers more than 60 years.

Portugal under mounting pressure to accept financial bailout

By Paul Mitchell, 15 January 2011

Portugal is under mounting pressure from other euro zone countries to accept an international financial bailout.

Fiat workers in Turin confront management blackmail

By Marianne Arens, 12 January 2011

Fiat workers at Turin’s main plant are being blackmailed by management, and the trade unions at the factory are doing nothing to defend the workforce.

Italy: The Cesare Battisti case and the attack on democratic rights

By Marc Wells, 12 January 2011

The Italian political establishment has set off a frenzied campaign against the “terrorist” Cesare Battisti, a former political left activist, now a writer, accused of murdering four people in the 1970s.

Greece to build fortified border fence to deter refugees

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 8 January 2011

The border fence not only symbolizes “Fortress Europe”, but is a model for the attacks of the European governments on the democratic rights of all the people.

Spanish air traffic controllers’ union facilitates government persecution of its members

By Robert Stevens and Paul Stuart, 7 January 2011

The Spanish Socialist Workers Party government has stepped up its offensive against 2,200 air traffic controllers.

Washington’s “humanitarian” war and the KLA’s crimes

By Paul Mitchell and Chris Marsden, 31 December 2010

Revelations of fascistic crimes carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army should provide a salutary lesson whenever Washington again cites humanitarian concerns to justify its predatory war aims.

US, Europe concealed organ trafficking by Kosovo Liberation Army

By Tony Robson, 29 December 2010

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) has been implicated in war crimes involving torture and the illicit trade in human organs removed from Serb civilians taken captive and killed during and after NATO’s 1999 war against Yugoslavia.

Italian students protest university austerity legislation

By Marianne Arens, 28 December 2010

Student demonstrations in Italy last Wednesday were aimed against austerity legislation recently passed by the senate.

Greek parliament approves further austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 24 December 2010

The Greek parliament passed its 2011 budget early Thursday morning, at the end of the final session of the five-day parliamentary debate.

WikiLeaks cables: Spanish socialist government plans to renege on election pledges

By Paul Mitchell, 24 December 2010

Cables published by WikiLeaks reveal that the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) did not expect to win the March 14, 2004 election and were was seeking to renege on their manifesto pledges within hours of coming to power.

Secret cables reveal Washington intervened in Italy to defend CIA kidnappers

By David Walsh, 23 December 2010

Secret diplomatic dispatches, released by WikiLeaks, reveal how US authorities put pressure on the Italian government to protect CIA agents responsible for kidnapping and torture.

Spanish parliament votes to extend dictatorial powers

By Paul Stuart, 20 December 2010

Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government has extended to January 15 the “state of alert” imposed upon 2,200 air traffic controllers on December 4—placing them under military control.

Repression of Italian student protests: The specter of a police-state

By Marc Wells, 20 December 2010

Protests against education “reform” and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government last Tuesday in Rome were met with brutal force by Italian police and paramilitary units.

Cables show Portugal’s role in secret CIA prisoner flights

By Patrick Martin, 17 December 2010

The Portuguese government agreed to make an Azores air base available for CIA flights, while keeping the arrangement secret from its own people.

Spain’s Socialist Party government colluded with US to conceal Iraq war crimes

By Paul Mitchell, 17 December 2010

Cables released by WikiLeaks show the PSOE government worked the Bush and Obama administrations to prevent prosecutions of US officials for war crimes.

Police attack protesters during Greek general strike

By Ann Talbot, 16 December 2010

Police brutally attacked demonstrators, who fought back, as an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets in a general strike that brought Greece's major cities to a standstill.

Bloody clashes with police and anti-Berlusconi demonstrators in Rome

By Stefan Steinberg, 16 December 2010

The demonstrations in Rome this week represent the most angry displays of opposition to the Berlusconi government and the entire political establishment in Italy for decades.

General strike hits further austerity demands in Greece

By Robert Stevens, 15 December 2010

The Greek government has introduced a further round of austerity measures which will result in massive job losses.

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi narrowly survives confidence vote

By Peter Schwarz, 15 December 2010

The passing of a confidence vote in Italy will not resolve the political crisis. With a limited and precarious majority, the government will be barely able to act.

Spain’s air traffic controllers targeted for escalating state repression

By Paul Mitchell and Chris Marsden, 11 December 2010

The Spanish Socialist Workers Party governments’ top law official, Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido, is demanding prison sentences of up to eight years for hundreds of air traffic controllers who organised a strike last weekend.

Italian students continue protests against education cuts

By Marc Wells, 8 December 2010

Students have organized mass protests throughout Italy in the last two weeks. On the heels of a government crisis, a turn to the working class becomes a crucial question for the student movement.

Spanish air traffic controller: “We have arrived at something akin to Stalinist Russia, the Stasi or Hitler’s SS”

8 December 2010

This correspondence has been sent to the WSWS by a Spanish air traffic controller. It details the impact of the emergency legislation imposed by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government, bringing in military control of airports, including forced labour at gunpoint.

Spanish air traffic controller: “We are living now like under Franco”

By Chris Marsden, 7 December 2010

A number of Spanish air traffic controllers contacted the World Socialist Web Site to describe the state terror employed against them under the emergency measures imposed by the Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government.

The threat of dictatorship in Spain

By Robert Stevens, 6 December 2010

The decision by the Spanish government to use the army to seize airport control towers so as to defeat a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers is a warning to the international working class.

Spanish government sends army to break air traffic controllers strike

By Alejandro López and Alex Lantier, 4 December 2010

Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero signed an order to send army units to occupy control towers in airports around Spain, to break a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers.

The Italian “left” and Nichi Vendola

By Marc Wells, 2 December 2010

As the crisis of the Berulsconi government in Italy deepens, sections of the establishment are increasingly looking to pseudo-left figures such as Nichi Vendola to shore up their political rule.

Financial markets increase pressure on Spain

By Alejandro López, 1 December 2010

Spain, along with Portugal, has become one of the central targets of financial market demands for further austerity measures directed at the working class.

Spain’s middle-class “left” parties and the French pension struggle

By Alejandro López, 1 December 2010

Spain’s middle-class “left” parties have supported France’s New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) and the French trade unions in their betrayals of the October-November strikes against social cuts by the Sarkozy government.

Council of Europe accuses Greece of mistreating refugees

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 26 November 2010

A new report raises serious allegations against Greece’s police and border authorities, documenting numerous cases of abuse and in some cases raises the allegation of torture.

General strike brings Portugal to a halt

By Paul Mitchell, 25 November 2010

Yesterday’s general strike in Portugal brought the country to a halt, as millions of workers from the public and private sector stayed away from work ahead of a vote in Congress on the government’s budget and austerity measures.

Student protests in Italy against education cuts

By Marc Wells, 25 November 2010

Demonstrations by Italian students against the attack on public education came the same day as further mass demonstrations of students in Britain.

Portugal: General strike ahead of Congress budget vote

By Paul Mitchell, 24 November 2010

In what has become a pattern across Europe, the unions in Portugal have called a one-day general strike today, November 24, in advance of a budget vote in Congress on Friday.

Social democrats win Greek regional elections amid mass abstention

By Robert Stevens, 17 November 2010

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government of Prime Minister George Papandreou won the Greek regional elections in the second and final round of voting on Sunday.

Italy: right-wing shift underlies latest Berlusconi scandal

By Marc Wells, 12 November 2010

Revelations of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s involvement in another prostitution and corruption signal a new stage of the political crisis engulfing Italy.

Unprecedented attacks on Fiat workers

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 10 November 2010

If Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has his way, wages at the Italian auto manufacturer will be equivalent to those in Poland with working conditions resembling those during the Great Depression.

Abstention in Greek elections shows anger at PASOK austerity

By Robert Stevens, 9 November 2010

Sunday’s regional elections in Greece revealed the hostility of millions of people to the austerity programme being imposed by the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Greek union calls off rail strike

By Robert Stevens, 2 November 2010

On October 28, the Panhellenic Federation of Railway Workers (POS) called off the latest strike by Greek railway workers.

Greek culture ministry workers end strike after police attack

By Robert Stevens, 16 October 2010

Culture ministry workers employed at the Acropolis in Athens ended a three-day strike Friday, following brutal attacks by riot police.

Two officers convicted for killing 15-year-old Greek student

By John Vassilopoulos, 15 October 2010

Epaminondas Korkoneas was found guilty of murder and his partner guilty of accessory to murder, for the killing of 15 year-old Greek student Alexis Grigoropoulos on December 6, 2008.

Spanish general strike shuts down Barcelona

By Carlos Alejandro, 2 October 2010

Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, was paralysed by the September 29 general strike that involved 70 percent of workers throughout the country.

Spain: Ten million workers take part in general strike

By Paul Mitchell, 30 September 2010

Nearly 70 percent of Spanish workers—10 million—took part in Wednesday’s general strike. In some sectors such as mining, metal, auto manufacture, electronic, fishing and other industries, participation was nearly 100 percent.

General strike in Spain against anti-labour laws and austerity measures

By Paul Stuart and Robert Stevens, 29 September 2010

Workers are striking today in opposition to the austerity measures and anti-labour reforms implemented by the Socialist Workers Party government of President José Zapatero.

Spanish miners strike against unpaid wages and pit closures

By Paul Stuart, 28 September 2010

A national miners’ strike in Spain in support of workers at the Alonso and Viloria mining corporations brought the industry to a standstill September 22-23.

Spanish parliament passes anti-labour laws

By Paul Stuart, 21 September 2010

The Spanish Socialist Party government has won parliamentary approval for new labour laws that will make it easier to sack workers.

Split over Greek regional election highlights SYRIZA’s rightward march

By John Vassilopoulos and Alex Lantier, 21 September 2010

Conflicts are erupting within the Greek petty-bourgeois “left” coalition SYRIZA over the nomination of a high-ranking PASOK official as its candidate in the Attica regional election.

Greek debt crisis fuels fears of European sovereign default

By Robert Stevens, 14 September 2010

Figures released this month point to the threat of a second continent-wide recession. Contrary to the claim that the worst of the economic crisis was over as a result of the bailout, leading economists have warned that Greece will be unable to pay back its mountain of debt.

Anti-government protests hit Greek austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 13 September 2010

Anti-government protests in the northern city of Thessaloniki in Greece last weekend were met by a massive police response.

Spanish air traffic controllers’ union sabotages another struggle

By Paul Stuart, 4 September 2010

The air traffic controllers’ union Unión Sindical de Controladores Aéreos (USCA) has overturned a 98 percent mandate for strike action, pushing through a deal supported by the employers and the government.

Spain: Popular Party embroiled in corruption scandal

By Paul Mitchell, 1 September 2010

For the past two years the right wing opposition Popular Party (PP) in Spain has been embroiled in the “Gürtel” corruption scandal, which has implicated many of the party’s top officials and leading businessmen.

Greek unions posture as opponents of privatisation

By John Vassilopoulos, 25 August 2010

The union leaders have portrayed themselves as emulating the last stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, while actually collaborating with the government in privatising companies and arranging wage cuts for the workers.

European Commission urges Greek government to press ahead with austerity

By Stefan Steinberg, 24 August 2010

Despite widespread social opposition, the European Commission has urged the Greek government to press ahead with its extensive program of spending and income cuts.

Spain joins anti-burqa witch-hunt

By Alejandro López, 21 August 2010

In Spain as in France, a wave of anti-democratic legislation and policies is being prepared against Muslims, including proposals to ban the burqa.

Government crisis in Italy: Democrat leader supports the post-fascist Fini

By Marianne Arens, 18 August 2010

The leaders of the Italian Democratic Party and Refounded Communism have sworn their support for the post-fascist Gianfranco Fini in his dispute with the head of the Italian government, Silvio Berlusconi.

Greek ex-lefts denounce truck drivers strike

By Robert Stevens and Alex Lantier, 16 August 2010

Petty-bourgeois ex-left parties such as Antarsya and SYRIZA and the Greek Communist Party were bitterly hostile to the Greek truckers’ six-day nationwide strike against the social-democratic government’s social cuts.

Pentagon rejects new investigation into killing of Spanish cameraman by US troops in Iraq

By Vicky Short, 14 August 2010

Last week, the Pentagon responded to the decision of the Spanish Supreme Court to reopen the investigation into the death of cameraman José Couso in 2003 in Iraq. It declared that US authorities had already acquitted the three soldiers involved of any crime. Couso and Reuters reporter Taras Protsyuk were killed in April 2003 when Baghdad’s Hotel Palestine was shelled during the US invasion of Iraq.

Spanish government prepares to use military against air traffic controllers

By Paul Stuart, 10 August 2010

Air traffic controllers at the state-run AENA have voted 98 percent in favour of industrial action against an assault by the Zapatero government, including plans to use the military.

Army operation against Greek truck drivers: A warning to European workers

By Peter Schwarz, 4 August 2010

The entire European elite has responded with satisfaction to Greek Prime Minister Papandreou’s decision to break the truck drivers strike by using coercive measures and mobilizing the army.

Greece: Union betrayal of truck driver’s strike sets stage for further attacks

By Robert Stevens, 3 August 2010

The Greek trade unions’ betrayal of the six-day nationwide strike by 33,000 truck drivers has set the stage for the PASOK government to step up its offensive against the entire working class.

Greek military mobilised to break truck drivers strike

By Robert Stevens, 2 August 2010

The decision by the social democratic PASOK government to use the military to break a nationwide strike by truck drivers is a stark indication of the polarisation of class relations in Greece and throughout Europe.

Greek truck drivers defy government

By Stefan Steinberg, 31 July 2010

Greek truck drivers decided on Friday to continue their five-day national strike, despite a series of punitive measures by the social democratic government of Prime Minister George Papandreou aiming to break their action.

UN court upholds Kosovo’s declaration of independence

By Julie Hyland and Paul Mitchell, 30 July 2010

The United Nations International Court of Justice ruled last week that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008 was legal.

Italy’s Berlusconi government racked by scandals and growing tensions

By Marianne Arens, 30 July 2010

The current corruption scandals in Italy far exceed those involved in the so-called Tangentopoli swamp of 1991, and a succession of ministers and state secretaries has already resigned.

The refoundation of Spain’s United Left: A turn to the banks

By Paul Stuart and Alex Lantier, 27 July 2010

The Stalinist United Left signalled at it June congress that it was prepared to shift decisively to the right, backing the policies of social-democratic Prime Minister José Zapatero as he carries out massive austerity policies in the interests of the banks.

Spain: Unions force pay cut on Madrid Metro workers

By Paul Mitchell, 22 July 2010

Unions on the Madrid Metro have forced a pay cut and other concessions on workers who have been involved in militant strike action against plans to cut salaries by five percent.

Germany and France use loans to Greece to push for major arms deals

By Johannes Stern, 15 July 2010

Berlin and Paris have used the bailout of Greece to force Athens to agree to massive arms procurement deals.

Greece: What is behind the right wing-split from SYRIZA?

By Chris Marsden and Robert Stevens, 12 July 2010

At the June congress of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), the “Renewal Wing” of the party walked out, announcing their intention to form a new movement more openly defending the social-democratic government currently imposing massive cuts on the working class.

Greece: Sixth general strike as PASOK passes austerity package

By Robert Stevens, 9 July 2010

Tens of thousands of workers protested Thursday during the sixth general strike to be held this year in Greece.

Prime Minister Zapatero forced to defend Spain’s solvency

By Paul Mitchell, 5 July 2010

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero was forced to mount a desperate defence of Spain’s economic solvency on July 2, after Moody’s announced that it is reviewing the country’s sovereign debt rating.

Pharmaceuticals impose embargo on Greek health service

By John Vassilopoulos, 3 July 2010

From the end of May until the middle of June, major pharmaceutical corporations held Greek public hospitals hostage over outstanding debts and price increases on medicines.

Spain: Striking Metro workers face military intervention and union betrayal

By Paul Mitchell, 1 July 2010

The vice-chair of the Popular Party-run Madrid regional government, Ignacio González, has warned that he is “not going to discard the option” of the military taking control of Madrid’s Metro system, which has been brought to a standstill by striking workers and brought chaos to the streets of the capital.

Madrid subway shut down by mass strike

By Alex Lantier, 30 June 2010

Train drivers shut down the Madrid subway yesterday after a mass workers’ assembly voted to disregard minimum service rules imposed by the Madrid regional authorities.

Greek workers in fifth 24-hour strike against austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 30 June 2010

In the latest 24-hour strike, tens of thousands of workers protested in cities and towns across Greece on Tuesday against the austerity measures of George Papandreou’s PASOK government.

Spain: Socialist Party government seeks to impose “labour reforms”

By Paul Stuart, 26 June 2010

The methods used to force Greece into massive austerity are now being deployed in Spain. The nation’s economy, the fifth largest in Europe, faces economic meltdown.

Greece trade unions intensify collaboration with austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 21 June 2010

As the austerity measures of Greece’s PASOK government produce deepening widespread poverty, the trade union federations are working to ensure that all opposition is strangled.

Demonstration in Rome protests austerity measures

By our correspondents, 17 June 2010

Thousands protested last Saturday in Rome against the recent austerity plans announced by the Italian government.

Spain: Strikes and protests greet PSOE austerity measures

By Paul Stuart, 10 June 2010

On Tuesday, 2 million public sector workers participated in strikes and demonstrations against the austerity policies of social-democratic Prime Minister Jose Luiz Zapatero.

Greece: Antarsya offers no alternative to PASOK and the official “left”

By Robert Stevens, 7 June 2010

Since the turn of the year, millions of Greek workers and young people have been involved in strikes and protests against the austerity measures being implemented by the PASOK government, on behalf of international finance capital.

An interview with OKDE-Spartakos of Greece’s Antarsya coalition

By Alex Lantier, 7 June 2010

While criticising other parties of the Greek petty-bourgeois “left,” Iannis Felekis of OKDE-Spartakos said that there was no alternative to Papandreou’s social cuts.

Italy on the eve of new class battles

By Marianne Arens, 7 June 2010

The right-wing government of Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to an austerity programme, which will be presented to the EU on June 7 in Brussels, preparing almost €25 billion in cuts by 2012.

Spain: government imposes austerity and pay cuts

By Paul Stuart, 5 June 2010

The ruling Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE), led by Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, has pushed through a package of cuts adding up to €15 billion and imposed a 5 percent pay cut on government workers.

Judge Baltasar Garzón suspended for investigating Franco’s crimes

By Vicky Short, 29 May 2010

The internationally renowned Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón, was suspended from his post on May 14, accused of perverting the course of justice by the body that oversees the judiciary, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).

Greek debt crisis exacerbates problems in Eastern Europe and Balkans

By Markus Salzmann, 26 May 2010

The debt crisis in Greece is placing Eastern European states under increasing pressure.

Greece: Fourth 24-hour strike against austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 21 May 2010

Tens of thousands of workers protested in towns and cities throughout Greece on May 20 during the latest 24-hour general strike in response to the brutal austerity measures being imposed by the PASOK government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.