Thousands of Europeans demand end to austerity
About 15,000 protesters and trade union representatives from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and other European Union countries gathered in the Belgium capital on Thursday to demand that EU leaders end austerity measures.
Demonstrators expressed anger at the EU leaders who were gathering in a summit amid years of austerity, which many experts say is worsening the recession and driving more people into unemployment and poverty.
Experts believe that the concept of the EU is a disaster, with a poll conducted last year revealing that every member state except Germany and Spain had the majority of people still thinking the EU was a good idea.
The EU’s statistics office, Eurostat, said that the eurozone crisis has deepened with three consecutive contractions in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2012.
The European Central Bank lowered its growth forecast for the eurozone in 2013, with the European Commission announcing that the eurozone would witness another year of recession this year.
Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, and Spain.
The worsening debt crisis has forced 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.
Meanwhile, most member state leaders remain committed to reducing public debt through further austerity measures.