Wednesday, December 15, 2010
(Reuters) – As austerity bites, Western Europe faces a near inevitable rise in protest and unrest in 2011 which is likely to hit markets and dampen weak governments’ appetite for reform but not affect policies dramatically.
So far, social unrest over the financial crisis has varied from country to country. In some of the worst affected nations such as Ireland and Latvia, acceptance and even apathy has prevailed, while Greece has seen fatalities and street clashes.
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Increasingly, there are signs of rising social pressures. Many Western European countries are only just embarking on multi-year deficit-reduction packages, a hard sell in states where expectations have risen for generations.
Greek protesters clashed with police in central Athens on Wednesday as tens of thousands marched against austerity measures aimed at pulling the country out of a debt crisis. On Tuesday, Italian rioters and police fought battles in Rome after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won a no-confidence vote.
Full story here.