Austerity Programs Hit France; Marchers Demand Vote on Treaty; Hollande Reneges on Campaign Promise

Courtesy of Mish.

Following protests in Portugal, Spain, and Greece, a wave of Leftists march in Paris against austerity.

Thousands of leftists marched through Paris on Sunday demanding a referendum on the EU’s new fiscal discipline treaty in the latest of a series of anti-austerity protests in countries hit by the eurozone crisis.

The demonstration, the biggest political rally in France since May elections brought Socialist president François Hollande to power, followed protests on the streets of Madrid and Lisbon on Saturday.

The communist-backed Left Front and 60 other organisations backing the Paris march said tens of thousands of supporters turned out for the protest, timed to coincide with the opening this week of a parliamentary debate on ratification of the fiscal treaty, which Mr Hollande had originally vowed to renegotiate.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Left Front leader, said austerity policies were “dangerous for all the people of Europe”. Demanding a vote on the treaty, he added: “Democracy is sicker than we thought.”

analysts worry that the recent upsurge in political unrest in Portugal, Spain and Greece – where the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has risen to third in national surveys – could be a sign of more trouble ahead as repeated rounds of austerity bite even further into daily lives.

“The cracks are showing in Spain’s social and economic fabric,” said Nicholas Spiro, a London-based sovereign risk consultant. “The risk is that in seeking to retain as much domestic ownership of the terms attached to any [EU rescue] programme, the government [of prime minister Mariano Rajoy] overdoes it and sparks an even more intense social and political backlash.”

In Portugal, tens of thousands of trade unionists turned out in Lisbon’s central square for a peaceful protest against terms of the country’s €78bn EU-IMF bailout.

Greek unions have also vowed to hold big protests if the government moves forward with a new €13.5bn austerity programme agreed last week by the coalition government.

The recent upheavals in Portugal – where there had been widespread bipartisan support for the bailout since it was launched 16 months ago – has come as a particular shock to eurozone leaders, forcing Lisbon to reverse a rise in social security taxes designed to hit mandated budget targets.


Hollande Reneges on Campaign Promise

Recall that Hollande ran on a platform to rework the Merkozy Treaty.

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