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Many PIIGS Becomes One SIC PIG?

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The world has long recognized that Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (the so called PIIGS) have been struggling with debt and solvency issues for years.

Obviously, Greece has been the poster child for the group, with massive Greek protests dominating the news seemingly every other day.

Perhaps it is time to introduce a new member to the group of troubled European states: the Czech Republic.

On Thursday, transportation workers in the Czech Republic staged a 24-hour strike that spanned the entire country. Urban transit systems and railways were thrown into disarray, according to the Financial Times.

Last fall, Czech voters elected a conservative government that has committed itself to a stringent program of austerity designed to reduce the government's deficit.

Transportation workers may be striking in anger over the new government's decision to limit pay and slash benefits.

Of course, perhaps the PIIGS moniker was not realistic in the first place.

Initially, the group included just Portugal, Ireland, and Greece. Later, it expanded to include Spain and then Italy. Now, with concerns growing in the Czech Republic—a European country considered to be more core than the PIIGS—the notion of a bankrupt periphery might simply give way to a completely bankrupt Europe.

Standard and Poor's threatened to downgrade Belgium's debt back in December, according to Reuters.

Last week, Austria put two of its mountains up for sale, Raw Story reported.

The European Union, collectively, has the largest economy in the world, and the economies of Germany and France are thus far holding together. Given that, it is possible for the European Union to come together and solve this crisis, but the road ahead looks rocky.

 

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