EU’s “suicide pact” lives up to its name in Greece
The head of UNI Europa, Oliver Roethig, recently tweeted from the ETUC Steering Committee that the so-called fiscal compact of the European Union was, in reality, a “suicide pact”. This week, as Greece prepares to go to the polls, his astute comment has received grisly endorsement with a Reuters report suggesting that the Greek suicide rate, historically very low for a European country, may have doubled in the wake of the austerity being forced on the Greek people by the European Central Bank, European Commission and IMF.
As the fifth suicide of the week took place on my train route into work, anecdotal evidence suggests that even the milder austerity policies in the UK which this week forced us back into recession us having a similar effect. And according to economic forecasters, if Governments don’t change course, we have at least a decade of this ahead of us.
There are many reasons for suicide, of course, and often it’s about much more than economic woes. But whereas the Wall Street Crash that precipitated the Great Depression of the 1930s saw bankers hurling themselves from Manhattan skyscrapers, it’s also worth reflecting on the fact that this time round, the suicides of ordinary people burdened with debt and insecurity, and with little hope of a brighter future for them or their children are contrasted with Barclays boss Bob Diamond surviving a 27% shareholder revolt against an annual income of £25 million.