by Jean Perier, New Eastern Outlook:
Following in the wake of White House policy, European political elites have been stepping up their groundless rhetoric about the growing military threat of Russia, Iran, China, which is held up simply to achieve the further militarization of Europe at the expense of social benefits for its citizens.
In his recent speech at an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, NATO‘s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that he expects a 3% increase in defence spending in Europe and Canada, however, he added, other than the US, only four NATO members are currently spending 2% of their GDP on defence.
Against the background of a string of upcoming election campaigns in the EU, it’s really not that hard to predict how Europeans are going to take the announcement that their governments are planning to increase their military budgets. The most likely scenario is that a number of EU states will vote for their own version of “Trumpxit,” which means that an outsider candidate will have a better chance than those from the ruling elites. As the living conditions of an ever increasing number of Europeans continue to deteriorate, it’s highly unlikely that EU citizens are going to tolerate additional military expenditures.
The data provided by Eurostat shows that in 2015, around 25 million children, or 26.9% of the population aged 0 to 17, in the European Union were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. A total of six member states saw a third of all children being at risk of poverty or social exclusion, including Romania (46.8%), Bulgaria (43.7%), Greece (37.8%), Hungary (36.1%), Spain (34.4%) and Italy (33.5%).
According to the Guardian, having a child while living in a rental accommodation has become unaffordable for young families in two-thirds of the UK. The most inaccessible place for those wanting to start a family was London, with a two-bedroom rental there costing 60% of the average income for someone in their 20s and 44% for someone in their 30s. This was followed by the south-east, south-west and the east. At the same time, the number of families with children living in emergency accommodations in England rose by 45% in the last 12 months, reaching the highest level in 12 years.
In turn, the Fabian Society says the Tory’s social cuts will increase the number of children living in poverty by 75% over the next 15 years in the UK, the Daily Mirror notes. Moreover, Berlin has already announced that social disparity will be steadily growing throughout the upcoming decade in Germany.
The Finish Yle notes that the number of children living in poor families has tripled over the last two decades. What is striking is that even those families where both parents are employed full time are unable to earn an adequate living.
Ever since 2008, the deepening social crisis in the EU has left local citizens feeling increasingly frustrated with their elected officials. At the same time, local political elites are reluctant to address the most pressing problems of their population, instead they prefer to increase military spending and cut social benefits provided to the poor.
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