EU Must Pull Together or Pull Apart

The fate of the European Union is far from determined as the recession and tepid recovery have placed financial stress on the group of nations. The UK Chancellor George Osborne recently gave a speech in which he unequivocally states that the future of the euro is questionable given the financial instability of Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The collapse of the European Union and the demise of the euro would be disastrous for the UK.

The concerns are shared by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They are planning on meeting in Paris next week to discuss the economic stability and governing of the European Union.

All of the EU’s countries have had to deal with massive debt issues leading to deep cuts in social services and government layoffs. It is austerity measures that have brought youthful protestors out by the thousands because the cuts have had a direct impact on their ability to find jobs. The photos of Greece’s demonstrations against the austerity measures are striking in that the rock throwing protestors are clearly mostly young adults.

A breakup of the European Union would have a disastrous impact on much more than Great Britain. The millions of young educated adults unable to find work now would be faced with an unconscionable situation in which currencies would be devalued, banks collapsed and a new recession likely. That is precisely why Sarkozy and Merkel are meeting to discuss strengthening the financial stability of the EU. Though they secretly may prefer to get out of the EU at this point.

It is troublesome that the young and the poor often seem to be the first victims of economic policies. In Somalia, it is the women and their children suffering with starvation from failed government economic management. In Britain, the London rioters are described as “young, poor and disillusioned” and the disillusionment is the result of poorly constructed economic policies. In Greece, the unemployment rate for those under 30 is approximately 40 percent and austerity measures are pushing them out of the country to look for work. These same situations play out from country to country.

Though it is possible Greece may have to exit the EU, it is hoped that the exit will be orderly. If Greece leaves, will other countries follow? Possibly…and that is what scares the young and the poor.

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