European austerity is a relative term for the nations and people of the European Union. On one hand, it represents a pullback from massive borrowing, spending, and public benefit programs, but it can also mean simply a pullback on where the money goes without cutting spending at all.
It appears now that austerity in Europe really is no more spending on the people, and instead giving money to banks, governments, and corporations, at the expense of the very populations who are barely surviving in desperation mode.
As you can see, nations like Spain, Greece, and Italy have not curtailed their spending at all, just moved where the money was going to. In this case, it away from public benefit programs and more towards the banks, corporations, and crony capitalists who helped create the problem in the first place.