venerdì 3 maggio 2013

Another superhero of demagogy shows up on the European political stage. This time in Austria.




Another superhero of demagogy shows up on the European political stage. This time is the turn of Austria.

His name is Frank Stronach. According to BBC News, Mr. Stronach is a very wealthy businessman, who made his fortune mainly in Canada in the automotive industry. He is now running for the Austrian elections in September with his own party.
Many traits of the man remind of Silvio Berlusconi, at the time he first started his political career in Italy back in the early 1990s. 

Both Stronach and Berlusconi are tycoons who depict themselves as the new wind of change (Stronach talked about an "intellectual revolution" that should happen in Austria). Both state they want "to fight against professional politicians". They both highlight their past business experience and success as a proxy for their ability to skillfully run the economic policy of their country. They are both in the late half of their life (Mr Stronach is over 80). Both display political beliefs and electoral support that strongly lean toward the far right wing (low taxation, less bureaucracy, liberalism in economics coupled with conservative views on society). Both run a one-man political party, funded with their own money and dependent from their personal charisma. Both are heavily committed to football (Berlusoni with the A.C. Milan, and Stronach with the FK Austria Vienna).

Both are eurosceptic. For example, recently Stronach expressed this view:

"It never had a chance that it worked, for the simple reason we know the southern states were basically agricultural states. [...] The northern states were industrial countries - so gigantic differences. A common currency just doesn't work. Not in Europe"

It is a pity this statement is completely wrong. It might be that a common currency is not feasible in Europe, but surely not for the reasons Mr. Stronach is talking about.
Please Mr. Stronach, just give alook at World Bank data. In 2000 for example, Scandinavian countries, The Netherlands and Austria had 2-3% of GDP produced by agriculture; in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia this value is 3-4%: a difference less than 1% of GDP!

But, this too is a strong similarity between Stronach and Berlusconi. The latter has been caught several times reporting wrong data during interviews and public debates.

The need for new policies and new political representatives in Europe is a matter of paramount importance, this is a sure thing. But, let's hope the wind of change will blow in the direction of real solutions. While I, personally, may easily sympathize with Stronach's arguments against bureaucratization and too-high taxation (I am Italian, though, and therefore maybe I just apply the same view to different countries), I am dubious about the man.

But, again, maybe, I am just viewing Mr. Stronach through the same pair of glasses that have been looking, for too many years, at Mr. Berlusconi acting on the Italian political stage.

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