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¿Qué pasa con Austria?

MUNICH – El mes pasado, Austria evitó por  muy poco la elección de un presidente del xenófobo Partido de la Libertad. Por cierto, el Partido de la Libertad hoy cuestiona el resultado. Dada la naturaleza preocupante del desafío populista, y sus implicancias para la política europea y el manejo de la crisis de refugiados, es importante diagnosticar lo que afecta a Austria, para que la cura no termine siendo peor que la enfermedad.

Austria alguna vez fue elogiada como el vecino más exitoso de Alemania, uno de los países de más rápido crecimiento de Europa. Pero su economía ha venido a los tumbos desde 2012. Su PIB creció el año pasado apenas el 0,7%; sólo Grecia y Finlandia tuvieron un desempeño peor. Y la tasa de desempleo de Austria se ha disparado del 5% en 2010 al 10% en la actualidad.

Esta evolución tiene sus orígenes en la relación que Austria entabló con Europa central y del este después de la caída del comunismo. Al principio, Austria se benefició con la ampliación hacia el este de la Unión Europea. El comercio internacional se disparó, las empresas austríacas invirtieron mucho en la región y los bancos austríacos abrieron filiales allí, financiando la modernización de estos países. Todo esto fue positivo para los negocios y la economía austríaca creció rápidamente.

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