Europe is facing a catastrophic economic and social decline, according to a new Red Cross report. The charity concludes that austerity measures taken during Europe’s economic downturn have further contributed to snowballing poverty and unemployment.
“Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it,” says the report, entitled “Think differently: Humanitarian impacts of the economic crisis in Europe.”
The 68 page Red Cross report, published Thursday, adds: “We now see a quiet desperation spreading among Europeans, resulting in depression, resignation and loss of hope for their future.”
Five major trends characterizing the impact of the economic crisis across Europe are identified in the document: the poor getting poorer; the ‘new poor’ spiraling into poverty; weakening health; a toughening stance on increasing migration; and a steep rise in unemployment.
The study ominously warns that “the long term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface,” despite already very serious, visible symptoms of economic downturn being detailed throughout its pages.
The Red Cross’s research includes data and conclusions collected from a wide range of European countries, from Belgium, Georgia, Greece and Italy to Sweden, charting statistics from the 28 countries of the EU plus 14 in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and central Asia.
“While poverty has increased, social services have been reduced,” the Italian Red Cross notes in its report. “Public services simply cannot respond to the ever-growing needs,” the report cites Marco Tozzi, a Red Cross volunteer, as saying. “Poverty is on the increase in France, Romania, Spain, Sweden and many other countries as reported by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies through the IFRC’s mapping exercise.”
Among more general trends, such as increases in poverty, unemployment and reductions in social services, some secondary social consequences are also identified. Grown-up children have been found to be moving back in with their parents in Greece and Spain, and generations are living under a single roof with just one income-earner to pay for the household’s upkeep.
However, there is simultaneously a broadening inequality gap. “Not only are more people falling into poverty, but the poor are getting poorer, and the sense is that the gaps between the wealthy and the poor are growing,” the report states, adding that those suffering the most in Europe were those identified as already badly off….
Where is all the money going? Don’t look at the guy behind the curtain. Economics is just too difficult to understand. Best to leave it to the experts.