At the beginning of the 2010s, the EU entered into a decade of crises. Preluded by the Greek sovereign debt crisis, a wider and larger-scale public finance crisis descended on a number of euro members, including the third and fourth largest economies of the eurozone. Despite the different causes and natures of the Portuguese, Irish, Spanish, and Italian crises, as explained in Chap. 2, EU leadership replied to these various crises with one common, inflexible recipe as its crisis management—austerity policies at the macroeconomic level on the one hand and labour market reforms, with reference to the German experiences, at the microeconomic level on the other. These neo-liberal policy responses, embodied the EU’s long-held economic ideology, the so-called Brussels Doctrine, not just prolonged the crises but also aggravated the economic inequality and distributive injustice. A financial crisis, not surprisingly, turned into a political one—resulting in the continuing rise of populist, anti-EU right-wing parties (PRPs) in the EU politics since the European Parliament election in 2014 and culminating in the Brexit result of the UK referendum in 2016. There were, indeed, many plausible explanations for the electoral successes of PRPs and Brexit result. However, there were no more convincible arguments other than the simple fact that PRPs voters versus non-PRPs voters and Brexit voters versus non-Brexit voters were divided along with the lines of winners and losers of European integration. It was those left behind and economically disadvantaged workers from the European single market and single currency composed of the core clients for PRPs and Brexit votes. Crystal divisions among socio-economic classes highlight the seriousness of economic inequality and distributive injustice within the EU since the euro crisis.
- Hutton, W. (2015), How Good We Can Be: Ending the Mercenary Society and Building A Great Country, London: Abacus.Google Scholar
- Kundnani, H. (2018), ‘Competing visions of Europe are threatening to tear the Union apart’, 1 July 2018, The Guardian, available at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/01/three-competing-visions-of-europe-threatening-to-tear-union-apart (accessed 27 July 2018).
- Lagarde, C. (2014), ‘Economic inclusion and financial integrity’, Speech by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, 27 May 2014, London.Google Scholar
- Oxenford, M. (2018), ‘The lasting effects of the financial crisis have yet to be felt’, Chatham House Expert Comment, 12 January 2018, available at https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/lasting-effects-financial-crisis-have-yet-be-felt (accessed 6 March 2018).