Posted: 14.09.2022 15:52:00

A spectre is haunting Europe…

Protests against the policy of the authorities, which puts people on the brink of survival flare around Europe

The past summer was marked by a true ‘PM fall’ for European countries. Several European leaders (if they can be called such) resigned at once amid snowballing problems caused by the crisis in Ukraine. Following Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Estonian Kaja Kallas, Briton Boris Johnson, and Italian Mario Draghi announced the resignation of premiership. And this, apparently, is just the beginning. A politically hot autumn and a completely unpredictable winter are ahead of the Europeans. The influential information agency Bloomberg reported that, given the increase in energy prices in Europe, the risk of riots in 101 countries is significantly increasing, citing the annual report of the British consulting company Verisk Maplecroft.

At risk

Forecasts for the EU countries are very threatening.
The problems are very similar everywhere: high inflation, instability in energy supplies, high prices for gasoline, gas, electricity and food, financial exhaustion due to the Ukrainian conflict, which has no end in sight.
 Add to this the rapid decline in the standard of living of European citizens, primarily pensioners, weather disasters, droughts and fires, and we get a complete set of factors that can lead to a social explosion. Quietly and insidiously, as the indices on the stock exchanges fall and energy prices rise, fear and a sense of hopelessness are instilled in European society, writes the Serbian edition of Seal. Welfare states are facing a crisis not seen since the end of World War II, and the citizens of Europe are slowly beginning to question the foundations of the Tower of Babel they have lived in until now. Europe, which until recently considered its history and civilisation as a model for the world, now realises how small it actually is. Its citizens plunged into an existential crisis. The consumerist and conformist civilisation and several generations of Europeans brought up on the values of ‘welfare’ faced a harsh reality for the first time in their lives. 
‘By shooting itself in the lungs’, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban put it about the imposition of sanctions against Russia, Europe has brought its own citizens to the most difficult situation in the last 70 years. Inflation in Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovakia is hitting record after record, reaching double digits. In Belgium, about a million people have experienced problems paying their energy bills, and in Lithuania, heating bills have risen by 140 percent compared to last year. According to Goldman Sachs, if Russian gas supplies were completely cut off, European household energy spending would rise by about 65 percent, to an average of about €500 per month, and economic actors like chemical companies and cement producers in Germany and Italy would have to reduce gas consumption by 80 percent. A breakneck energy price hike threatens to wipe out some of Europe’s manufacturing capacity in sectors ranging from metallurgy to confectionery. 
All this, in addition to rising living costs, exacerbates uncertainty, inequality, exacerbation of fears, as well as distrust in the ruling political elite. This means that new high-profile resignations, popular riots and uprisings are not excluded at all.
Many countries are at risk, but among the first candidates for departure, experts name Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In the Czech Republic, in general, the most dramatic situation in the social sphere has developed since the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
“If the government does not solve the crisis in the energy sector, it will not stay here for long,” considers the Czech Minister of Justice Pavel Blazek. Recently, a large anti-government rally took place on Wenceslas Square in the heart of Prague. The participants demanded the resignation of the Czech government, headed by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, by September 25th, warning that otherwise an act of defiance would be declared.

Czech Republic, Prague

He laughs best who laughs last

Danger is threatening Olaf Scholz more and more. The rise in energy prices has become a true shock for the people of Germany, and people do not know how they will survive the winter. Some are already pawning their valuables because they don’t have enough money to pay utility bills, reports Spiegel. 
This is one of the main reasons for the record low popularity of the current German chancellor. Two-thirds of Germans believe that he is leading the country in the wrong direction.
“Tens of millions of households are heated by gas in Germany. In the fall, many people will receive recalculations on utility bills, and there, as a rule, a very significant amount. It happens that a person or household must pay more than €1000 at a time. If this is a minor problem for the wealthy, then it will be very difficult for people with low incomes,” states Bundestag deputy from the Alternative for Germany party Evgeny Schmidt.
His colleague Sarah Wagenknecht noted in an interview with reporters, “I believe that demonstrations and protests against federal government policies are urgently needed. 
Gas bills are exploding, as are the cost of fuel, electricity and food, but not only is the government doing nothing about it, it’s putting a gas surcharge on us. People must defend themselves against this social ignorance. 
Economic sanctions are destroying us, not Russia, so the economic war must be stopped. Gazprom is using its record profit to build gas pipelines to China. Oil exports to Asia have already increased. Russia does not need the West to buy its raw materials. But German industry is collapsing without cheap energy sources. And who is the laughing third? We are destroying our industry and our middle class, this is crazy!”

Germany, Leipzig

Payback time

Following the Czech Republic and Germany, the French took to the streets. They accused Macron of anti-human politics. So, if he plans to remain in the seat, he will have to put himself in fellow citizens’ place and, in addition to beautiful slogans that ‘freedom has a price’, offer people something sensible to rectify the situation. Otherwise, the time is not far distant, when the performances of the ‘yellow vests’ will seem as a slight sea breeze to the owners of the Élysée Palace.
The euphoria of the victorious election campaign of the new British Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss will not last long. After all, the British economy has never known such a large-scale crisis. Recently, The Guardian newspaper published a disappointing forecast: three million people in the UK will be below the poverty line due to heavy fats. Due to rising electricity prices, six out of ten British factories could close. But instead of a concrete package of measures to improve its recovery, Truss flaunts populist and anti-Russian statements, thereby further annoying compatriots.
We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic may return, and with it the governments of European countries will once again resort to restrictive measures that will hit the economy and society with renewed vigour.
In general, there comes a moment of truth for the European ruling circles, when the threat of rebellion by disgruntled citizens becomes much more dangerous than the fight against political rivals. 
A period of turmoil and uncertainty is ahead, and this is nothing but retribution for the short-sightedness and lack of a reasonable independent strategy among European politicians. As the Serbian edition of Seal figuratively notes, Europe will appear before the court of the goddess Nemesis, who embodies retribution, rewards for good and punishes for evil, especially blatant lies and violence in the near future. They will have to pay the price for decades of nihilistic, racist, predatory, hypocritical, licentious and parasitic life.

By Yevgeny Kononovich
Photos from open sources