EU-backed austerity measures ‘hurt’

Farmers protest against cuts in the agriculture sector during a demonstration in front of the European Union headquarters in Madrid, Spain. (File photo)

A UK-based think tank says the European Unionâ„¢s solutions to rescue the blocâ„¢s economies are causing more harm than benefit, Press TV reports.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV, director of the Bruges Group criticized the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for pushing governments to implement harsh cutbacks and tax rises, which he said takes a heavy toll on the least well-off in society.

“The solutions that the European Union has been forcing and of course the IMF has been forcing on these countries, is not helping, it is actually hurting,” Robert Oulds said.

Oulds insisted that Southern Europe needs to protect its social spending, and support pensioners and the unemployed, so that people would spend more money locally.

Å“But all that has been happening is that the European Central Bank has been pumping billions into reckless banks, wants of course governments to having to have cutbacks,” he complained.

The remarks came as figures released by the Eurostat data agency indicate the overall eurozone unemployment rate has stayed at a record high of 12.1 percent in June for the fourth consecutive month.

“[The] EUâ„¢s approach which is to protect the financial institutions first above its own citizens is the wrong way forward and until they stop putting citizens first, there would not be economic growth and there will continue to be high unemployment,” Oulds stated.

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.

The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

MRS/AS

Republished from: Press TV