mineweb.com / By Lawrence Williams / Wednesday , 30 Jan 2013
Having seen the Arab Spring develop and come to a head over the past couple of years, should European countries be worried that some of the same factors, and consequences, could rear their heads closer to home?
With governments seemingly increasingly out of touch with the person in the street, and with the public’s growing distrust of politicians and their attempts to right the financial mismanagement of their predecessors, could rioting on the streets develop into full blown insurrection?
Some Western democracies are indeed in a parlous state. Take Spain for example. The unemployment rate among the under-24 year olds is somewhere between 50 and 60%. In Greece that figure is at a similar level.
In both countries the overall unemployment rate is estimated at over 26% and rising, and government generated statistics are frequently shown to understate the true position.
How long can this go on before something snaps? There is still seemingly no end in sight to the economic weakness and one only has to look at charts of the rise in unemployment across Europe (albeit with a few exceptions of which, surprisingly, the UK is one) to see that the situation is becoming progressively worse.
Portugal’s youth unemployment rate is knocking on 40% as is Ireland’s. In Italy the youth unemployment rate is 37% and rising and similar levels are present in the Baltic states. Even in France it is over 25% and growing fast.