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Archive for 8. Juli 2018

Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juli 2018

Date: 05-07-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

Austria’s chancellor wants an “axis” against illegal migration

IT WAS all smiles this week as Austria assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, one of the club’s law-making bodies. But behind the scenes Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s young chancellor, provokes knotted brows. Mr Kurz’s political identity, more than that of most other European leaders, is bound up with illegal immigration. Fans say his tough line, honed as foreign minister during the 2015-16 refugee crisis, blunts the appeal of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), the junior coalition partner to his centre-right People’s Party. Foes say his shift towards harshness makes it hard to tell the difference between moderates and extremists. “Kurz is on a dangerous course,” said Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, this week.

In office for barely six months, Mr Kurz has made his share of enemies. Some detect a whiff of demagoguery. There have been mis-steps: a meeting with the Bavarian government, which raised eyebrows in Berlin; Mr Kurz’s call for a European “axis of the willing” against illegal immigration. Some salty language has surfaced in Austrian documents on the difficulties of integrating men from regions marked by “patriarchal…or backward-looking religious attitudes”. Even central European officials fear the Austrians sometimes go too far. “There’s a naked populism there,” shudders an EU official who has watched Mr Kurz in action.

That seems unfair. The well-coiffed Mr Kurz may have swallowed large parts of the FPÖ’s platform, but he never rails against elites or dabbles in George Soros conspiracy theories. Inside Austria, many see him more as opportunist than grand schemer. “I’m not sure Kurz has a strategy for Europe beyond trying to remain chancellor of Austria,” says Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik of the University of Vienna. Yet all agree on his remarkably well-tuned political antennae. Mr Kurz detected earlier than his counterparts, such as Angela Merkel in Germany, that illegal immigration demanded a firm response from the mainstream right. “It’s not a question of left or right,” he told Charlemagne this week from his office in Vienna. “It’s just a question of rational politics.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The special relationship once enriched Britain’s politics. No longer

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juli 2018

Date: 05-07-2018
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

America has become a source of bad ideas, polarisation and parochialism

MOST members of the British political elite are citizens of two countries—their own and the United States. They follow American elections with obsessive zeal. They gorge on fat biographies of Lyndon Johnson and Alexander Hamilton. They scheme to get their children places at Harvard and internships in Congress. The dirty secret of the Brexit debate is that most British politicians are not so much hostile to the European Union as bored by it. America is where their heart lies.

For much of the past 40 years this love affair has served Britain well. It has strengthened the forces of reform and regeneration, enlivened policy discussions and put the kibosh on little Englandism. Thanks in part to its close relationship with America, Britain has been able to revive the position it seized in the 19th century in the slipstream of liberal thought.

The first example of this was Thatcherism. American thinkers such as Milton Friedman and George Stigler provided Margaret Thatcher with the academic firepower she needed to tackle overmighty trade unions, public-sector interest groups and unproductive state companies. Thatcher’s close relationship with Ronald Reagan allowed her to play a disproportionate role in the greatest drama of her time—the collapse of Soviet communism—and curbed her parochialism. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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