The Corner

Those European Strikes

Yesterday, European anti-frugalists struck across Europe, complaining about cutbacks in government spending. Spain was especially hit hard, according to this BBC report: The country suffered its first general strike in eight years.

The strikes may be directed at national governments — France has seen these broad strikes twice in the last month, and has two more to come in October. Workers are angry at being asked to wait until age 62 to retire.

But the real target is Brussels, where one of the biggest demonstrations yesterday took place. As this piece in the Independent explains, the EU, prodded by a sensibly austere Germany, is determined to get serious about national deficits. In the last quarter alone, France’s debt grew by another 60 billion euros, pushing it past the $2 trillion level. The debt-to-GDP ratio now amounts to nearly 83 percent of French GDP — far above the EU’s target of 60 percent.

The European media doesn’t usually link the EU with these kinds of protests, however. The usual narrative is a domestic one — strikes against Sarko and all that. But even if the unions know where the exposed nerves are, they also know these aren’t local issues. As John Monks, the European Trades Union Confederation leader, told the Guardian yesterday:

“It’s a crucial day for Europe. This is the start of the fight, not the end. That our voice be heard is our major demand today — against austerity and for jobs and growth. There is a great danger that the workers are going to be paying the price for the reckless speculation that took place in financial markets. You’ve really got to reschedule these debts so that they are not a huge burden on the next few years and cause Europe to plunge down into recession.”

Denis Boyles — Dennis Boyles is a writer, editor, former university lecturer, and the author/editor of several books of poetry, travel, history, criticism, and practical advice, including Superior, Nebraska (2008), Design Poetics (1975), ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Political Clans Choose Public Life

Announcing that she has filed for divorce from her husband, Donald Trump Jr., Vanessa Trump wrote: “We ask for your privacy at this time.” That isn’t quite what she meant — apparently, nobody in the Trump family ever will speak English as fluently as Melania — but the sentiment was predictable enough. ... Read More

Two Truth-Tellers, Brave as Hell

Yesterday, the Human Rights Foundation hosted an event they called “PutinCon” -- a conference devoted to the Russian “president,” Vladimir Putin: his rise and his deeds, both at home and abroad. Participating were both Russians and well-wishing foreigners. It was, above all, a day of truth-telling -- a ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Swamp: Navarro Nucor Edition

The Wall Street Journal has a story today about the ties between President Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, and the biggest steel company in the U.S. -- Nucor Corp. It is particularly interesting in light of the stiff steel tariffs successfully pushed by Navarro, which he championed ever since he joined the ... Read More


EMPIRICAL   As I can fathom neither endlessness nor the miracle work of deities, I hypothesize, assume, and guess.   The fact that I love you and you love me is all I can prove and proves me. — This poem appears in the April 2 print issue of National Review. Read More
Politics & Policy

Rolling Back Dodd-Frank

The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. The vote was 67–31, with 17 members of the Democratic caucus breaking party lines. If the legislation passes the House and is signed, it will be the largest change to the controversial financial-reform package since it became law in ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Samantha Power Regrets

‘I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life,” former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tells Politico. “Though none as immortalized as that one.” Wow. It’s a major concession. And what might “that one” be? Not standing idly by in the White House while Iranians protested a fixed election in 2009, then ... Read More