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Social discontent grows across Europe

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Social discontent grows across Europe


Europeans are coming out onto the streets in their millions as governments consider legislation aimed at reducing their budget deficits.

In France, it is pension reform which is proving particularly unpalatable. The age of retirement will rise from 60 to 62 – and workers will now have to wait until they are 67 before they get their full pension, not 65.

There have also been repeated demonstrations in Greece since the country was warned to mend its financial ways in order to get IMF and EU aid. This week, lorry drivers angry at laws liberalising their industry were the latest to protest. The legislation was finally approved on Wednesday, despite the demonstrations.

It was the same in the Czech Republic where 40 000 civil service workers flocked onto the streets of Prague to protest against wage cuts.
But as they broke into the Interior Ministry, the law restricting the budget deficit to 4.6 percent of GDP was voted in by Parliament.

In Romania, the protests are against what people consider to be draconian cuts. In order to qualify for additional billions in aid from the IMF and EU, the government has cut salaries by 25 percent and increased VAT from 19 percent to 24.

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