February 10, 2015
Is Austerity to Blame for the Collapse of the Political center in the European Union?
By Global Business and Economics Program
Radical political parties in the Eurozone—including Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, and Sinn Féin in Ireland—are riding a wave of popularity. The continent's debt crisis has pitted the creditor countries, most importantly Germany, against debtor countries like Greece. On an international level, the northern European creditors have managed to implement policies that are forcing the debtor countries to take on most of the adjustment burden.
Data shows that voters in the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis are increasingly turning to the fringes of the political spectrum. Severe spending and budget cuts, accompanied by mass unemployment, have led voters to desert the traditional political center in droves.
Given economic and political trends, the question remains whether Syriza's recent victory in Greece is the beginning of a wider backlash against the rules governing the euro which could eventually spread to Europe's core.
Sources: Electionresources.org, Metapolls, CIS, Irish Polling Indicator