Experts have warned the risks of civil unrest are growing in even the wealthiest countries of Europe, particularly due to the skyrocketing energy bills and cost of living crisis. Risk consultancy firm Verisk Maplecroft warned that Germany and Norway are two developed economies that have already been facing some disruptions to daily life as a result of labour actions. Earlier today, pilots at Lufthansa went on strike, forcing the German airline to cancel hundreds of flights in Frankfurt and Munich.
This led to about 800 flights being cancelled, stranding about 130,000 passengers, many of them holidaymakers.
The pilots’ union demanded higher pay, as soaring energy and food prices pushed German inflation to its highest level in almost 50 years.
According to Verisk’s latest report on its civil unrest index, over half the 198 countries studied experienced an increase in risks of mass mobilisation over the past few months.
The report warned that countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland and the Netherlands face the largest projected increase in risk in the coming months.
The report said: “The impact is evident across the globe, with popular discontent over rising living costs emerging on the streets of developed and emerging markets alike, stretching from the EU, Sri Lanka and Peru to Kenya, Ecuador and Iran.”
Verisk Maplecroft’s principal analyst Torbjorn Soltvedt said: “Over the winter, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if some of the developed nations in Europe start to see more serious forms of civil unrest.”
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, food and energy prices have gone through the roof, hitting all-time records.
Chief analyst Jimena Blanco added: “And we still have some of the fallout from the COVID pandemic playing into this, with existing supply chain disruptions.”
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The report added: “Only a significant reduction in global food and energy prices can arrest the negative global trend in civil unrest risk.
“Recession fears are mounting and inflation is expected to be worse in 2023 than in 2022.”
Climate change and weather are also “crucial factors” that could spark protests, as devastating droughts in Europe and the rest of the world have made food prices rise further.
The report warned that the “most explosive civil unrest” would occur in places where “the ability to shield populations from the rise in living costs are limited.”
Britain is not immune to such risks however, as a number of protests and strikes have popped up over the last few months.
As the energy crisis worsens with the latest forecast seeing the price cap on energy bills reaching £3,628 in October, the British are fearful about being unable to afford their soaring bills.
The ‘Don’t Pay UK’ campaign calls for consumers to cancel their direct debit payments to energy suppliers from October 1 in protest.
Mass action will be taken, according to the organisers, unless the Government adequately addresses the crisis of sky-rocketing energy bills.
Over 133,000 people have already signed the pledge declaring they will strike in less than two months and have demanded a reduction in energy bills to an affordable level.