Europe Sees Surge Of Protests Over Economic Strife

A surge of citizen protests and labor strikes are spreading across Europe as skyrocketing inflation places immense pressure on political stability.

The latest flashpoint came this week as U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after only 44 days in office. Her ambitious economic plans led to instability in British and European financial markets and dealt new blows to a struggling economy. Political leaders across the continent are feeling increasing pressure with each passing day.

Conditions have worsened significantly after Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine in late February. Energy and food costs have been especially impacted across Europe as the war rages on and causes sustained supply chain disruption and financial instability.

The 19 nations that use the Euro as official currency have seen their collective inflation rate rise to 9.9%, a record high since the era of the international currency began. High prices and diminished supplies of consumer goods have led many citizens to take to the streets.

Risk management consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft is warning that the Ukraine war is leading to the increasing danger of violent civil unrest throughout Europe. European Union and U.K. leaders have strongly supported Ukraine in its defense against the Russian invasion.

The resulting disruptions of energy and food imports from Russia are now leading to the threat of diminishing public support of sanctions on Russia and financial support for Ukraine.

Verisk Maplecroft analyst Torbjorn Soltvedt told reporters this week that “there is no quick fix to the energy crisis, and, if anything, inflation looks like it might be worse next year than it has been this year.” He said that means public opinion about the war “will really be tested.”

Protests and labor strikes have hit France, Romania, the Czech Republic, and the U.K. in the last several days. Germany has seen transportation snarls due to strikes by pilots for the Lufthansa airline that have disrupted the entire nation’s distribution network.

Soltvedt said that European leaders now find themselves with “very little room for maneuver.” He added that Europe has been fortunate in some ways this fall as October has been warmer than normal across the continent so far. Most locations have been able to manage lower-than-typical energy demand as a result.

He said that if Europe ends up with any unplanned disruptions in natural gas supplies, however, “we will probably see an even further increase in civil unrest, risk, and government instability.”