"This could recreate a bloc reminiscent of the Habsburg Empire, which could push back against Berlin, Paris, and Brussels."
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
This great video clip and its transcript on our YouTube Channel is taken from the Russian news, and it describes how a new power bloc may be forming on the territory of what was the Habsburg Empire, known also as the Holy Roman Empire, a misnomer in that it was neither Holy nor Roman.
Unlike the Austro-Hungarian Empire of old, Austria and Hungry today are becoming increasingly pro-Russian, along with the fellow Slavic country of the Czech Republic.
The victory of Austria's young new leader follows the populist trend of late, and he'll fit in well with his Hungarian and Czech counterparts, but time will tell what effect their cooperation will have on the Eurosceptic movement, European Populism, and relations with the Eurasian giant that is Russia.
Kiselyov (Russia's Top Anchor):
European officials in Brussels are mourning again. It's the second time this week. Yesterday, the parliamentary elections ended in the Czech Republic. As a result, the ruling party of the Social Democrats took a disappointing sixth place. Meanwhile, Austria is changing as well.
After the recent parliamentary elections, the countries are becoming ideologically closer to Hungary in the sense that Austrian sovereignty becomes more valuable than the European bureaucracy of Brussels.
Here's an interesting fact. Until the end of World War I, these three modern states were, for several centuries, part of the once-powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire under the Habsburg dynasty.
It’s also curious that the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph the First, who ruled for almost 70 years, until 1916, was crowned twice— first in Vienna, and then as the King of Hungary in Budapest.
And now, it turns out that these states, even a hundred years after the collapse of their formerly mutual Empire, have many things in common, with which they can oppose the European Union.
Mikhail Antonov will tell us about the changes in Europe in more detail.
Mr. Babiš is called the "Czech Trump." The net worth of the country's former finance minister exceeds four billion dollars. For the liberal media, Babiš is a populist. He leads a party called the Action of Dissatisfied Citizens. His father is from Slovakia, his mother's family is from Podkarpackie Russia.
The American Foreign Policy and The Washington Times called him a man who can turn the Czech Republic towards Moscow. On the eve of the election, the "Dissatisfied," led by the billionaire, took first place.
Andrej Babiš, leader of ANO 2011:
"We must fight for our interests. We’re a significant part of the EU and NATO. Some people worry that we’re looking towards the East. We are not. It’s just that the EU must finally understand and draw conclusions about why, for example, the UK left the European Union. Enough talking about a two-speed Europe already."
Nevertheless, judging by some statements of Babiš, his views on the relationship between Russia and the EU coincide with the opinion of Czech President Zeman. The sanctions are useless, and the topic of Crimea must be closed.
Much will become clear when Babiš chooses his coalition partners. Zeman already approved the formation of the government.
Nine parties were elected to the parliament, and completely polar political forces can become the allies of the billionaire. This includes the Eurosceptics from the Party of Free and Direct Democracy, led by the Czech–Japanese Tomio Okamura, or the Czech Communists, who are even ready to join the coalition with the ultra-right because of the reluctance to support the anti-Russian course for the sake of Ukraine, a country where the Communist Party is banned.
In fact, there’s a chance that Merkel and Juncker will even miss the current government of Sobotka's Social Democrats, whose main sin was the refusal to accept refugees. Especially since the government of Babiš won’t accept them either.
The election in the Czech Republic completes the autumn electoral marathon in the EU. In the political atmosphere, everything looks like a betrayal of family values.
Everyday life, routine, small secrets—it's all there, but there’s no love lost now, and the children have grown up.
Sebastian Kurz, Austrian Chancellor and Austrian People's Party's leader:
"I'll inform the President and the public about who we’re going to form the government with, but only after negotiating with all the parties that got into parliament."
The new Austrian government will be formed by 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz— leader of the Austrian People's Party, who won the election a week ago.
"Who do you want to be when you grow up?" This is the most innocuous joke that he had to hear from his opponents during the election campaign— "Kurz," which means "short" or "small." After Austria passed a law which banned wearing the burqa and other face-covering articles of clothing. By the way, this law was lobbied for by the Austrian People's Party. People started calling Kurz "The Little Brown Guy" or even worse—"Little Hitler."
The liberals are especially under pressure because the new chancellor, as it seems, is going to offer a coalition to the ultra-right anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which has strengthened its position in the parliament. Well, the picture is the same as in the Czech Republic. However, the Austrian Eurocentrists have their last line of defense— President Van der Bellen, a former “green."
Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Austria:
"I'll do everything in my power to ensure that the European values laid down in our Constitution continue to be a compass for the future of Austria."
"Alexander Van der Bellen has been the current President of Austria since last January. In general, his powers are limited, as in Germany, to that of a representative. However, when it comes to elections and subsequent decisions, the law gives him an important position.
The President is not only entrusted with the formation of the government, but with the approval of the chancellor and each minister. He can also fire some government employees, and this increases the tension."
For the first time in the history of the country, Austria's President can block the initiatives of the strongest party's leader. Although, given the mood of the voters, this may end badly for the president himself.
The probable internal conflict of fathers and children has an external dimension.
The shadow of Austria-Hungary appeared over Europe for a second time. In Budapest, which gets most of the slaps for refusing to accept refugees, people got inspired by Kurz's victory.
Obviously, there is a possibility of fragmentation, but, if it's the right kind, it could recreate the center of power that had been the Habsburg Empire, which could jointly resist the pressure coming from Berlin, Paris, and Brussels.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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