Throughout the instability of the European Union’s debt crisis, one thing has remained constant: the Canadian government’s refusal to help fund a bailout. Faced with requests for additional cash from the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty contends that European countries shouldn’t “pass the plate to others,” pointing out that “these are not poor countries.” Indeed, a recent study by the World Bank cast Europe as a “lifestyle superpower,” noting the continent spends more on social protection measures, like pensions and welfare programs, than the rest of the world combined. It’s been suggested that Europeans surrender some of these benefits before asking others for money. How bloated is European social spending? We’ll let you be the judge.
(Illustrations: Glenn Taylor | Interactive: Trevor Melanson)