In the midst of massive strikes and mobilizations, the welfare model in Europe stars in the debate

More than a million people mobilize in France in each march called to reject the pension reform. The scenario of discontent multiplies on the continent (Reuters) (Christian Hartmann /)

Spirits are not regulated with numbers: the best economic figures, such as the one just forecast by the European Comission for the Twenty sevendo not stop the multiplication of protests that Europeans are willing to take to the streets to put their discontents on the front page, a reflection of a Welfare state downhill.

Despite Brussels has revised its growth forecasts upwards, no one can guarantee that the improved scenario for the coming months will finally come to pass. The community authorities forecast GDP growth of 0.8% for the EU and 0.9% for the euro zone in 2023.

The good forecast for France (0.6%), Germany (0.2%) either Spain (1.4%) seems not to stop the repetition of marches, strikes and mobilizations in almost the entire European Union (EU) or the United Kingdom.

british premier Rishi Sunak seems to face one of the most negative scenarios. Despite attempts at wage increases, which fail to keep up with inflation, the number of days lost to strikes in 2022 was the highest since 1989.

The perception of the workers, but which is also justified by data, is that wages are enough for less every day. Especially when unemployment held steady at 3.7%, just above a low not seen since 1974. People continue to earn less as increases fail to keep pace with the 10.5 percent inflation. Those in the private sector received a 7.3% salary increase compared to 4.2% in the public sector.

Nurses, health personnel and ambulance drivers demand wage increases above inflation in the United Kingdom (Reuters)
Nurses, health personnel and ambulance drivers demand salary increases above inflation in the United Kingdom (Reuters) (PHIL NOBLE /)

However, what is most significant is the visible deterioration of the national public health system model (NHS), a pride for the British and an example for the world. The month of February began with a two-day strike by almost 300,000 nurses and health workers demanding a pay increase.

Despite the promise to raise pension assets, crossing the English Channelthe French fight in the streets to paralyze in the National Assembly the pension reform project.

In France, the unions, workers, retirees and mobilized youth suspect that this initiative means a weakening of the welfare state. Maxime Combeseconomist and member of Attack Francein an article for the newspaper the worldassured thatthe deterioration of public finances, for at least two decades, is explained much more by the increase in public aid to the private sector than by the supposed ‘slip’ of social spending”.

According to Combes, while public aid to companies increased by an average annual 7.2% between 2006 and 2018, reaching 140,000 million euros, growth five times higher than GDP, for the retirement and social assistance system the increase was barely 2.5 times higher, half.

Portugal is another example of debate in the streets. A country that in recent years has been noted for its good social and economic performance. The bad mood, in this case, focuses on the educational model.

Displeased by the present, thousands of educators and people came out this Saturday in Lisbon and different cities of the country to claim in the face of precariousness, lack of motivation and low wages.

The schools have been protesting for two months to recover what they have lost in recent times, but also in the face of the historic cuts demanded by the ‘European troika’ – the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, the European Central Bank -, in addition to seeking to bury the job insecurity of those hired.

School teachers demonstrate for better wages and working conditions in Lisbon, Portugal (Reuters)
School teachers demonstrate for better wages and working conditions in Lisbon, Portugal (Reuters) (PEDRO NUNES /)

Spain He entered an electoral year also with an agenda of social protests. A massive demonstration has been pronounced, last Sunday in Madrid Plaza de Cibelesagainst the “dismantling” of public health and has asked for more resources for primary care and the reinforcement of the staff of health centers.

The protest, called by 74 social and neighborhood groups, had 250,000 protestersaccording to the Government Delegation, a figure that the organizers raised to one million, which means having exceeded the one that took place in the month of November.

Although it is a discussion that should describe the situation in Madrid, the political bid ejected it at national levels. The Industry Minister and candidate for the Socialist Party (PSOE) to the city hall of the Spanish capital, maroto kingsmaintained that the public health of the Community, in the hands of the People’s Party (PP), “is at risk”

For his part, he President of the goverment, Pedro Sanchez, criticized the model of the “popular” as “heal who can, with privatizations and cuts.” Answering the boss’s darts the Moncloa, the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóoheld the central government responsible for the health situation.

But discontent is added at the polls. The results of the elections in the German capital were considered historic, an adjective that is not an exaggeration. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won victory with 28.2% of the votes in the city-land of berlin.

In this way, the party Angela Merkel it advanced 10.2 points compared to the elections of September 26, 2021, which had been canceled due to a series of irregularities. Since 1999, the CDU was not the first in the German capital, whose city council is led by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 2001, the political stamp of the Chancellor, Olaf Schölz.

The call for attention, in the face of increasing anger, is significant: with 18.4% of the votes (-3 points), the S.P.D. it registered the worst score in its history in a city where it always exceeded 20 percent.

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