Loss of rights in EU countries

The economic crisis and austerity measures did not save any aspect of EU citizens’ daily life in many countries. In particular, the rights to work,  pensions, education and healthcare have been hit. But also the access to justice and freedom of expression. A report by the European Parliament investigated the impact of the policies and crisis in the last years in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland, and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Tsipras shows the humanitarian crisis following the austerity measures in Greece.


It is clear, according to the study, how difficult the situation is in the seven member states examined.  Indeed, housing rights are under attack in Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland and Spain. Property rights in Italy, Cyprus, and Greece. The right to work in Greece, Portugal and Cyprus. The freedom of information is particularly compromised, the public television has been closed. At risk is also the social security in Ireland and Portugal. Even the right for water is at risk in Ireland. Under analysis are also the limitations introduced by Belgium to foreign people rights and the increase of hate crimes and hate speech in Greece. An alarming overview, that, according to the report, jeopardize the equality principle. A bitter pill is the consideration made by the authors of the research: “the impact on human rights of these last years will be evaluable only in the next decades”.

Education right is losing quality
Belgium appears to be the only country that did not cut the services related to the primary education. While in the rest of Europe an alarming overview regarding cuts in education services, staff and teachers salaries has been recorded. The work load for teachers increased in Italy, Spain and Portugal. Meantime the number of students per class has also increased at the expense of children in vulnerable situations: the assistance to children with disabilities, Roma children and children of migrants. In Greece, Ireland and Cyprus the number of language classes for migrants children has drastically been reduced. Depressing is the data of Greece: 180 thousands children with disabilities are excluded from any form of education because of the shortage of funds for special schools, courses and assistance. Italy registered cuts of 17% of the auxiliary and administrative staff in education. A complete evaluation  in this sector is still not possible, but cuts have consequences on the success of children at school, on the increase of future unemployment, the lack of school transports for children. Also the classrooms have been affected from the cuts: these are deteriorating, not well clean, without or not enough heating. While in Greece before the crisis there were 6,431 primary schools, now there are 4,731 and additional 200 will be closed before the end of the 2015. Between 2009 and 2013 in Greece the rate of young people who do not study or train rose from 19.9% to 33.7%, 13 percentage points higher than the EU average and 2.7% higher than Italy, according to a Caritas study report. Furthermore, in Spain subsidies for meals for children from poor families have been reduced by 30-50% in some areas and also the support for buying school books was reduced to 45%.

In a negative rank Greece is first, many unemployed people and self-employed people are not covered by the public insurance system. Furthermore in Greece and Portugal an obligation to prescribe only generic medicines and not brands has been imposed. In the meantime a system of participation in fees was introduced for primary sanitary assistance, specialist visits in clinics, health exams in the laboratory in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus.  Particularly dramatic is the following data: the waiting time for a visit in a public hospital in Cyprus is seven months.

The work sector is one of the most hit in the last years, as you all know. Restrictions in jobs in the public sector have been done in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus. In particular, in Greece the conversion of full time contracts jobs into part time ones was imposed and the abolition of undefined duration contracts. While in Spain and Portugal collective dismissals are now easier. Cuts to all salaries in the public sector have been done in Greece, Spain(5%) and Portugal. In Italy and Portugal they have been limited to the high incomes. Also the Christmas bonus have been cut in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain and the minimum wages have been reduced.


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