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Developments in Austria

by generic Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 10:07:22 AM EST

Austria's new chancellor Christian Kern, former manager of the Austrian state railways gave an interview. (behind paywall and German). The only remarkable thing about it is that I actually read this one.
Some points with my comments in brackets:

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger


  • "You can't run a state like a company" (A positive surprise)

  • "Of course we have to reduce the deficit, but" sinking GDP/debt ratio, not the most important thing, focus on employment, Schäuble is not the only voice in Europe. (A bit wobbly, no unconventional macro perspective but OK)

  • He urges to consider the subjective security feeling of the population and supports the new drug laws. Brings up Bill Clinton in that context. (Seriously iffy. More below.)

  • He plays up the shared aims with the conservative coalition partner. (I suppose he wants to place  the blame for any new elections squarely on their side. And new elections aren't this unlikely. Mitterlehner, the Conservative party chair probably already hears the knives being sharpened behind his back. And Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz seems awfully eager for press attention these days.)

  • He condemned talking up an emergency. (The last government passed a state of emergency law because of the refugees. Talk up doesn't quite capture the german "herbei reden" because you can only talk up something that exists in some form already. It also lacks the clear intentionality of "cooking up". As far as I can see he mostly got the job to calm down the base rebellion against the government's new right wing asylum policy. The old chancellor was booed at the May Day parade and delegates left in protest at his party speech. Kern got a lot of positive press for the Railway's handling of Refugees.)

So what is that about new drug laws? This article explains. In short there was a reform that put solid criteria on what "commercial drug sales" have to look like. The police hated it and went crying to the boulevard. Now there was a crisis and something had to be done. And the something is of course blind actionism, more rights for police and in effect police harassing Africans in the underground. For clarity: It is the second law the chancellor supports.

Most of the dealers in question are here without a chance on asylum under current rules and can't be sent back to the country of origin because there is no return agreement. There is basically nothing else for them to do. And while there were more dealers around a few underground stations than previously, as far as anyone knows there weren't more sales.

One final note: The FPÖ has decided that being a sporting loser doesn't win you anything and is challenging the presidential vote. Don't expect anything to come from it.

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Posted as a diary since the comment was getting long...
by generic on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 10:07:58 AM EST


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