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How the eurozone crisis is affecting us
Image © Tim Ireland - PA Archive
As the eurozone crisis has worsened, the UK has been standing on the sidelines, hoping that the dominos don't all fall and knock us over too.
For many people, this has vindicated the decision not to join the euro and increased the sense that we should stay 'an island apart', away from the madness of the continent.
However, we are not immune to the effects of what is happening across the water. Unemployment continues to rise, particularly among young people, as the austerity cuts imposed by the government begin to bite hard.
And while the riots that happened across London and other English cities in the summer cannot be directly attributed to the crisis, there is a growing sense of disillusionment at the gap between the richest and the poorest.
Protest camp a sign of public opinion?
Perhaps the most obvious manifestation of this is the protest camp now outside one of the nation's most famous buildings - St Paul's Cathedral. This has led to questions in Parliament, within the church, everywhere it seems except in the City of London, where the big financial decisions are made every day.
Confidence in the UK government's ability to manage the economy out of the current situation is not high, but there is no credible alternative.
The consolation for people here is that we still have some of our destiny in our own hands, but if the euro fails and the dominos do fall on us, there will be real anger and it could lead to social unrest on a scale not seen here for centuries.
What is the impact on the continent?
So that's our experience of the eurozone crisis to date. But what has the impact been on the continent? Not for the politicians and the big businesses, but for the people on the ground level, who are having to deal with harsh cuts and painful tax hikes.
To help give you a clearer picture, we contacted a number of our colleagues at MSN across Europe and asked them to share their experiences.
The French have faced plenty of austerity measures, but are they still in favour of being in the eurozone?
>>How the crisis has affected France
The German people are looking on pessimistically. Find out why they are feeling so gloomy about the future.
>>How the crisis has affected Germany
Image: AP Photo - Dimitri Messinis
Greece has been at the eye of the storm for months but how do the people feel about life now?
>>How the crisis has affected Greece
Why the government in Portugal is axing holidays and raising taxes in a bid to stave off disaster.
>>How the crisis has affected Portugal
How a combination of economic and political disasters has left Spain on the brink of a bailout.
>>How the crisis has affected Spain
Why not share how you've been impacted by the eurozone crisis in the Comments section below.
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The UK is being critic of the Europe Union finances, however the UK has been doing much worse than Europe. This is just a PR farse to distract the british people from the failure of its leaders to solve its own much serious problems.
Look at how well Germany is doing!. UK debt is bigger than that of Spain and italy!.
Amasingly, the UKPM who has been unable to do any good for the British economy, wants to lecture the Gremany chancellor!.
Why is the British people being treated by its leaders (PM etc) as completely stupid?
Great Britain.... perhaps not so great...
Great Germany!!!!! Please lead Europe... Let the Brits be a federal state of the deeply failed USA!!!
guys..this is what we get for voting david cameron...
i think we were fine with labour....
Is it not apparent that it is the system that has failed. The human races is incapable of acting together to solve the problem. Thirty five years ago Britain had a positive balance of payments
but had to go cap in hand to the IMF. Then thirty years ago Thatcher decided it was possible to live continually in debt and the British middle classes agreed so they steadily increased their debts hoping inflation would reduce them to a manageable level. The result savers such as myself now
see our savings reducing and because interest rates are far below our inflation rate in effect receiving a negative return on our money. With the idiots of the Sun newspaper banging the war drum and Cameron slanging off Iran we are back in 1938 and we now what happened then
and with nuclear weapons all our problems will be solved permanently.
Why would you want millions to suffer,I wonder?
Just because you are unhappy with your lot is no reason to wish poverty and destitution on others methinks. Economic meltdown is not something any sane person wishes for. I therefore have to conclude that you are slightly off your trolly.
I've read a lot of the comments on here some with amusement, like saying decimalisation was wrong, politicians get big bonuses and the EU is to blame for all our problems.
There are lots of things wrong with the EU but the current economic situation was brought about by the financial sector and started in the USA. Our banks thought they could make a quick buck and bought into the junk bonds based on unrealistic property prices over there.
This then caused the credit problems as banks stopped lending to each other. Of course the property market in the UK and Spain in particular were also overpriced but it was these bonds that were the major cause.
The EU is an important market for the UK, this is where we sell 50% of our goods and telling your biggest customer to get stuffed is not the best idea in the world.
The Euro may have been a good idea in principal but I could never see how it would work.
In the past, countries had the ability to set interest rates, revalue or devalue, without this there were bound to be problems.
This of course is the problem that the Euro zone countries now have to solve and nobody knows how. As the UK are outside it is not our direct problem but we will feel the effect.
Those of you who want the UK out of the EU need to think how many jobs will be lost if that happened.
I am getting really worried about my children ,my grandchildren.
How are they going to Survive.
If we as a country have debts, then who do we owe the money to?
Surely there's the real power.
So SORRY IAN.
Just seen you are only 30.
Trust me YOU will worry about your son`s future and your grandkids.
When you get older you will see what I mean.
GOD Bless you..Nite. NIte.
I do not think you have grandchildren yet.
I have, I can see NO future for them.
Please let me be wrong .My life has been crap in an easier world, so GOD help them.
Thought my life was hard.!
Must take issue with you on the assertion that EU H&S law prevents us from mining - nothing could be further from the truth. As a H&S inspector for 35 years, I can assure you that there is nothing in EU H&S legislation which is any more restrictive than ours. In fact, most of it was inspired by us anyway, because we had the most effective H&S regime in Europe. You could argue that, traditionally, our H&S regime has been too tight, but that is more to do with the way it is enforced (particularly on low-risk premises) than the actual rules themselves. However, mining is a high-risk activity which has a very high injury rate (we just had 4 deaths in Wales), and needs to be well-controlled. The reason we don't mine is because most of our coal is deep and not as economical to mine as, say, Polish or Australian surface mined coal. And if you try to burn it, you'll be jumped on by the environmentalists, not the H&S inspectors!
The biggest difference between the last Labour Goovernment and this present Tory one is that for much of the time Labour were in power our economy was seemingly doing fine. Unfortunately as we now know that this apparent prosperity was largely built on sand. For nearly thirty years since Thatcher - successive governments had allowed those who control money to more or less do what they liked, were forever appeasing them and basically doing their bidding by presiding over - despite what many would have us believe - very lax regulatory regimes.
Unfortunately for Labour, when it all went belly-up most of these artful and cleaver bastards managed to convince the voters that their woes had been caused by Gordon Brown's reckless spending and lack of forsight in not planning for the inevitable rainy days ahead. Such bare-faced cheek is possible because these types have virtually all the organs of information and propaganda on their side. After all they've bought them.
The most damning criticism I have of the last Labour Government is that they squandered the best part of thirteen years sucking up to those, who in the end turned on them with such cynical glee, when the chickens came finally home to roost.
It is not a co-incidence that most of the major backers of this present Tory Government are those very same financial institution in the City, who once feted Tony and Gordon, when it suted their purposes. Makes you wonder at times - just who really runs this country.
How can you tell me not to worry about my children or grandchildren?
Have you been dead and come alive again?
I worry about ALL young people.
Continued,, We are doomed to hundreds of years of struggle. We are going down to the second division with a management team that have no motivational skills or direction to take us back up. The players ( the young people ) are not good enough, so bring in the foreigners and they are only here for the money, till it has all gone.
GET US OUT OF EUROPE. WE could as a nation make this country Great again.
But it will take leaders of action, with direction and make this country productive, and its people with a sense of fairness and belonging, and accountable to the rest of society.
Also who says we could lose our best people abroad if we dont give to the wealthy.
I believe the best people are not running our top companies,or country, only greedy people.