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Does Europe's economic crisis trigger a resurgence of the radical right?

December 10th, 2012 - Written by Dr. Oliver Schmidtke

"What is the impact of the deep economic crisis that in parts of Europe has taken on a dimension reminiscent of the dark days of the 1930s? To what degree have high unemployment and the impoverishment also of large parts of the middle class in certain parts of Europe contributed to a surge in right wing extremism on the continent?

At first sight, the effects of the economic crisis in this respect are not clearly evident. Since 2008, right wing populist parties have surged in electoral support in some countries, notably Finland, France, Greece, and Hungary, but they have declined in Denmark, Italy and Switzerland (and in the Netherlands Geert Wilders' party lost almost one third of its votes in the recent elections).

Yet, there is growing evidence that the potential for a surge of the radical right is growing in those countries that are mainly hit by the economic slump. Greece is a point in case: capturing about 7% of the vote in the June elections surveys now put the extremist 'Golden Dawn' party in third place in terms of popular support. In a recent interview Greek Prime Minister Samaras compared the situation in his country to that in Weimar Germany. This form of political radicalization and threat to democracy is barely considered when yet another round of austerity measures is imposed on countries such as Greece."

Dr. Oliver Schmidtke is director of the Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria. He is leading the research team "Immigration and Social Policy", part of the SSHRC Strategic Research Cluster "Canada Europe Transatlantic Dialogue".

Watch also  http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=823823&playlistId=1.1072652&binId=1.810401


European Crisis high risk to the Canadian financial system?

December 6th, 2012 - In its semi-annual Financial System Review the Bank of Canada ranks the European debt crisis as "very high" risk to the financial system.

Our expert Dr. Patrick Leblond disagrees and explains: "The risk for the Canadian financial system, as indicated in the Bank of Canada's latest Financial System Review, is that the European debt crisis, which is also combined with a banking crisis in countries such as Spain and Ireland, might lower demand for Canadian goods and services and therefore contribute to putting downward pressure on the growth of the Canadian economy, which would in turn affect the profitability of Canadian banks as there would be less demand for loans from Canadian business. Furthermore, the fragility of the European banking system as a result of the debt crisis could potentially reduce liquidity in the global financial system and, therefore, make the cost of capital higher for Canadian banks, which again would hurt their profitability. These are the two ways that the European crisis would hurt the Canadian financial system. However, these indirect risks between the crisis and the Canadian financial system remain small in comparison with the potential fiscal difficulties south of the border."

Furthermore, Dr. Amy Verdun comments: "The crisis in Europe is still being discussed and sorted out. There has been some good news in the last few weeks, and it seems that Europe is on the right track. It does still face lots of problems especially in the real economy (high unemployment and low growth or recession) which means that Europe will still be facing challenges as we move into 2013. It has been strange that the Canadian government has been so adamant to point to the fact that it would not want to help Europe out (via the IMF) should it be necessary, whilst at the same time (seeing this news) recognising that what happens in Europe will have a direct effect on Canada if it is large and nasty."

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