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IMF: Harsh winter may lead to “social unrest” across Europe

A harsh winter this year could lead to social unrest across Europe if combined with a recession, the head of the International Monetary Fund said last week.

The comments were made by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, as reported by Reuters, who said the continent’s precarious position would require the European Central Bank to fight inflation while remaining “mindful of the necessity to keep the economy going.”

“There is certainly fear of recession in some countries, or even if it is not recession, that it would feel like recession this winter,” she said.

“And if Mother Nature decides not to cooperate, and the winter is actually harsh, that could lead to some social unrest.”

Earlier this year, the IMF reported that unrest in Europe was rising as people became less fearful of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions.

“As governments relax restrictions and public concerns about catching COVID in crowds diminish, pandemic-related disincentives for protest might abate,” they reported, adding that “public frustration with rising food and fuel prices may increase.”

“Steep price increases for food and fuel have been associated with more frequent protests in the past,” they wrote.

“Although social unrest remains low relative to pre-pandemic levels for now, the lifting of pandemic-era restrictions and the continued cost-of-living squeeze mean that protests may yet increase.”



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