European leaders have called emergency talks to discuss a groundswell of social unrest and violent street protests that have spread across Europe amid the economic downturn.
Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Greece and Iceland have all faced social unrest and rioting as unemployment soars and as many European countries have been forced to impose severe cuts to government spending.
A senior EU source has told The Daily Telegraph that a March summit of European leaders will examine the increasing unrest as unemployment rises across Europe and cuts to social programmes bite.
“There are concerns. The EU shares them. It is one of the major challenges for the Spring Council,” said the senior European source.
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy first raised the spectre of “May 1968” protests spreading across Europe at a Brussels Council in December and “intensive sharing of information” is now under way among a key group of EU governments, including France and Germany.
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In the latest development, following days of violent street demonstrations, Iceland’s, ruling coalition government, which is not an EU member, on Thursday bowed to protesters and called early national elections to be held this year.