Europeans Leave En Masse Amidst Crisis

PressTV, 12-21-2011

Tens of thousands of Europeans are migrating from their homelands, many heading to the southern hemisphere, as the continent sinks deeper into financial crisis.

While official statistics shows that Portugal, Greece and Ireland had the largest stream of immigrants leaving their country’s this year, evidence points to the same happening in Spain and Italy.

In 2010, 1.21 million Greeks have emigrated, according to the World Bank, equaling 10.8 percent of the population.

The top destinations for the Greek were Germany, Australia, Canada, Albania, Turkey, UK, Cyprus, and Belgium.

This year, 2,500 Greek citizens have moved to Australia and another 40,000 have “expressed interest” in moving south.

In Ireland, where 14.5 percent of the population is jobless, in the 12 months to April this year, 40,200 Irish passport-holders left, up from 27,700 the previous year.

According to the Ireland’s central statistics office, the number will increase to 50,000 by the end of year, many heading for Australia and the US.


Meanwhile, Portugal’s foreign ministry reports that at least 10,000 people have left for oil-rich Angola this year. The Portuguese are also heading to other former colonies, such as Mozambique and Brazil.

According to Brazilian government figures, the number of foreigners legally living in Brazil rose to 1.47 million in June, which 330,000 of them are Portuguese.

Since its formation, the European Union has been a haven for those seeking refuge from war, persecution and poverty in other parts of the world.

The worsening debt crisis, however, has forced European governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have made life much harder for ordinary citizens, creating a new stream of immigrants leaving the continent.

The debt crisis has also sparked several incidents of social unrest, with strikes in Greece against austerity measures turning bloody and a violent protest in Rome injuring more than 100 people.

Europe plunged into a financial crisis in early 2010. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain


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