by Pater Tenebrarum
Trapped in the EU
Austria is a small European nation that has made the grievous mistake of needlessly joining the EU in 1995, together with Finland and Sweden. Austria’s neighbor Switzerland, which is of roughly similar size and likewise militarily neutral, proved to have far better instincts. The Swedes subsequently at least had the good sense to stay out of the euro zone. It seems if there is a mistake to be made, Austrian governments will eagerly make it.
[…] To be fair, back in 1995 it actually didn’t look like a mistake, at least superficially. The EU accession promised to hasten the privatization of the country’s many at the time still state-owned industries, as well as the dissolution of numerous government monopolies (such as on tobacco and gaming). Moreover, numerous restrictions on trade and capital movements which had been in place for a long time stood to be repealed as well. In other words, it seemed as though government would actually shrink.