Europe chews at very high prices the dust of war

From food to energy, the eurozone is suffering from armed conflict and Western sanctions against Russia following the devastating global crisis caused by COVID-19. Prices are flying higher than for drones, and until there are combat aircraft that Kyiv is eager to get in sufficient numbers to end hostilities by declaring victory, the illusion is unlikely to come true.

I mention the armed conflict because it has a lot to do with the economic position of a powerful continent, which is noticeably weakening because it stubbornly follows the style of a powerful ally from across the Atlantic.

This erroneous decision by governments not to act on their own interests leaves Europeans unprotected, who are beginning to open their eyes at the cost of basic necessities.

Sample: the Portuguese have left since the beginning of this year for Lisbon, not to enjoy the beauties of its bucolic capital, but to protest. The pocket does not give them when they go to the market… and they called it the winter of discontent. And that winter is already ending and the approaching spring does not bring any flowering.

So much so that in March last year, the Portuguese government launched a macro operation to test supermarket chains to examine profit margins and see if they are part of an artificial increase in food prices.

In France, the government appears to have reached an agreement with the country’s major distributors to lower food prices; however, the French are still on the streets against President Emmanuel Macron and his bill to raise the retirement age.

The true natural barrier that the Pyrenees represent between the French country and Spain has not prevented this galloping inflation of necessities from being felt in Iberia, where already in October last year they reached an increase of 40 percent, and experts predicted that this trend would continue as until at least 2025. More than 24 million Spaniards lost purchasing power in 2022, according to a recent comment by El País.

The UK, despite Brexit or even because of its separation from the European Union, also felt the blow, and there were stops and strikes.

Social tensions in Germany have been on the rise since the start of the year, and transport was paralyzed on Monday 27 March 2023 by a strike that demanded higher wages to cope with the rising cost of living.

DW reports that in addition to rail traffic, almost all airports, waterways, motorways and local public transport are affected in seven of Germany’s 16 states, which is not insignificant, and the rail operator Deutsche Bahn, instead of responding to demands from workers, he described, that “millions of passengers” suffered from an “excessive and exaggerated strike”, and went over to the side blaming others: “The winners of the day are the oil companies”.

Unusually in Germany, last week’s protest movement brought together EVG, which brings together 230,000 workers in the railway company, and Ver.di, which represents 2.5 million service workers.

Another very hard truth in the balance

Is there something else in this unfavorable European economic environment? Well, yes, and despises his citizens. State spending has grown unnaturally and by no means in favor of the population.

The report comes from a highly credible global organization, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which said in mid-March that Europe’s arms imports had doubled over the course of 2022 for one reason: NATO’s massive shipments to Ukraine, which became the third largest importer in the world.

Although the recipient is not only the Kiev government, but the countries of the Old Continent themselves have increased their imports with the growth of military spending. Poland and Norway are among those who have invested heavily in arms purchases, and they are not the only ones. A SIPRI study says European import growth reached 35 percent in 2022.

In that basket, everything that is inflated is not from February 24, 2022, when the conflict in Ukraine began. Fighters, submarines, drones, armored vehicles, anti-tank missiles, rifles, ammunition. It’s all on the purchase invoices. And most notably in the study, this trend has been strong since 2018, with a 47 percent increase in European imports compared to five years prior to that date.

However, in almost the rest of the world, military spending for the five-year period 2018-2022. decreased: in Africa (-40%), South America (-20%), even in Asia (-7%). and the Middle East. The middle ones (-9%), although they continue to be in the list of buyers, in principle, from the five large exporters of the multimillion-dollar military industry, where the US consortia continue to hold the lead.

This is the United States, which accounts for 40 percent of this amazing business’s export earnings, followed by Russia (16 percent), France (11 percent), China (5 percent) and Germany (4 percent).

Sanctions on Russia, inflation, debt, unemployment, and mass emigration from Ukraine are exacerbating the precarious situation of inflation-hit workers. They wanted to bring Moscow to its knees and found that their own legs were weakening.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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