Europeans brace for economic downturn

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Europeans brace for economic downturn

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Even on the streets of Paris’ affluent shopping districts, the global financial crisis can be felt.

Despite pledges by president Nicolas Sarkozy to protect savings, analysts say the French will be affected.

“I’m not panicking or doing anything that will have terrible consequences,” said one woman. “Just trying to be calm and not spend too much.”

“We must not be naive, what’s happening in the US will definitely have consequences on global financial markets and also on global economic growth,” said one financial analyst. “Everyone is concerned.”

On the streets of London, the mood is morose. Recent polls reveal consumer confidence has hit its worst levels since the recession of the early 1990s.

“I just saw it on the news over the weekend and I just thought I don’t want to have my money there, and I am just going to put it where I can be sure that it is safe,” said a Bradford & Bingley client.

“I think it is making people feel very depressed about things which has a knock-on effect. So obviously I am not happy with the way things are,” said another woman.

“Well I lost my job two months ago and from what I hear a lot of my friends are getting made redundant and so yes, I am not going to go to McDonald’s and have a cheeseburger, I am going to have toast at home,” said a man with his child.

More than 32,000 people became unemployed in August alone – the steepest monthly rise in more than 15 years in the UK.