Thursday

27th Jul 2017

Europe's cities hit by anti-austerity protests

  • Anti-austerity protesters marched outside the EU institutions (Photo: Agnes Lisik)

Many of Europe's capital cities ground to a halt on Wednesday (14 November) with a series of anti-austerity marches and co-ordinated strikes.

The demonstrations, which amount to the biggest pan-European attack on tough austerity budgets across a number of EU countries, were organised as part of a 'European day of action and solidarity' by the European Trade Union Congress (ETUC).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

More than 80 people were arrested during riots in Madrid. Violence also flared up in Milan and Rome, with riot police firing rubber bullets at protesters.

Elsewhere hundreds of flights and trains were cancelled in Spain and Portugal after unions held their first coordinated general strike.

Bernadette Ségol, the ETUC general secretary, said that "by sowing austerity, we are reaping recession, rising poverty and social anxiety".

"People's exasperation is reaching a peak," she added.

The ETUC reiterated its demand for a legally binding protocol on social policy to be included in any new EU treaty change. A declaration adopted by the ETUC executive committee stated that the budget cuts were "dragging Europe into economic stagnation...as well as the continuing dismantling of the European social model:"

In Brussels, several thousand demonstrators marched from Place Luxembourg outside the European Parliament to the European Commission and Council buildings on Schuman Rondpoint calling for an end to 'casino capitalism' and more social protection for those in work. Further protests were planned in the evening.

Trade unionist marchers were led by the Centrale Nationale des Employés (CNE), which represents 180,000 members. MEPs and officials from the leftist Gue/NGL group and Socialist and Democrat group also had delegations on the march.

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer commented that "today's mobilisations show the need and popular appetite for a radical change of course.

"It is time for economic, democratic, and social solidarity in the EU, not the further aggravation of inequality and social injustice," she added.

Meanwhile, Phillip de Buck, who leads the pan-European business lobby BusinessEurope, said that the unrest would damage the economy. "If you start striking at national level and its companies you will only harm the economy", he said.

Greece passes austerity bill despite clashes

Greece has narrowly adopted an austerity package needed to unlock the next bailout tranche, despite a general strike and violent clashes with riot police.

German cities criticise Merkel's fiscal rules

Merkel's strict deficit and debt rules will come fully into force in 2019, with German cities warning that it will be at the expense of disabled people and children.

EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7

The EU executive expects Warsaw to halt the judiciary reform and address concerns over the rule of law, and not to force out supreme court judges, or else the sanctions procedure will start.

EU Commission to act on Poland

The EU executive is likely to issue a new set of rule of law recommendations to Poland and start legal probes once the controversial pieces of legislation have been published.

EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7

The EU executive expects Warsaw to halt the judiciary reform and address concerns over the rule of law, and not to force out supreme court judges, or else the sanctions procedure will start.

News in Brief

  1. Member states relocate 3,000 migrants in June
  2. Top EU jurist says Malta's finch-trapping against EU law
  3. EU judges rule to keep Hamas funds frozen
  4. EU court rejects passenger data deal with Canada
  5. US votes in favour of Nord Stream II sanctions
  6. Greece makes return to bond market
  7. Trump accuses the EU of protectionism
  8. EU parliament's Brexit group urges progress on talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  3. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  4. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  5. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  8. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  10. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  11. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  12. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way

Latest News

  1. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  2. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis
  3. EU and US scrap on Russia sanctions gets worse
  4. Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles have one month to start taking migrants
  5. EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7
  6. Court told to 'dismiss' case against EU migrant quotas
  7. Russia's EU pipeline at 'risk' after US vote
  8. EU Commission to act on Poland