15 June 2010

Article: "Democracy could disappear" in Greece, Spain, and Portugal, warns Barroso

The UK newspaper "Daily Mail" yesterday published an article online, by its political correspondent Jason Groves, titled "Nightmare vision for Europe as EU chief warns 'democracy could disappear' in Greece, Spain and Portugal".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "Democracy could 'collapse' in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless urgent action is taken to tackle the debt crisis, the head of the European Commission has warned. In an extraordinary briefing to trade union chiefs last week, Commission President Jos[é] Manuel Barroso set out an 'apocalyptic' vision in which crisis-hit countries in southern Europe could fall victim to military coups or popular uprisings as interest rates soar and public services collapse because their governments run out of money. [...] John Monks, former head of the TUC [UK Trades Union Congress], said he had been 'shocked' by the severity of the warning from Mr Barroso, who is a former prime minister of Portugal. Mr Monks, now head of the European TUC, said: '[...] [H]is message was blunt: "Look, if they do not carry out these austerity packages, these countries could virtually disappear in the way that we know them as democracies. They've got no choice, this is it." [...]'

"Greece, Spain and Portugal, which only became democracies in the 1970s, are all facing dire problems with their public finances. All three countries have a history of military coups. [...] Mr Barroso's warning lays bare the concern at the highest level in Brussels that the economic crisis could lead to the collapse of not only the beleaguered euro, but the EU itself, along with a string of fragile democracies. [...] Mr Monks yesterday warned that the new austerity measures themselves could take the continent 'back to the 1930s'. In an interview with the Brussels-based magazine EU Observer he said: 'This is extremely dangerous. This is 1931, we're heading back to the 1930s, with the Great Depression and we ended up with militarist dictatorship. I'm not saying we're there yet, but it's potentially very serious, not just economically, but politically as well.'"

I can't figure out whether the article appeared in print today.

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