Sebastian Kurz is 31 years old, meaning that after France Austria is set to become the next country governed by a leader from a new generation of politicians. Europe's commentators take a closer look at them and discuss the potential consequences of their rise to power.
Excellent product of political PR
With Kurz and Macron two representatives of Generation Y are leading European states for the first time, Webcafé comments:
“They belong to a generation for which any message more than 140 characters long falls into the 'tl;dr' [Too long; didn't read] category. ... A generation that doesn't know the name of its local MP but knows how to send the US president a personal hate message. This generation has now produced the first leading politicians. They're under 40 and not politicians in the traditional sense: old men who command respect with grey hair and even greyer prospects for the future of their nations. Instead we have boys from next door in tailor-made suits. Neither left nor right and not political subjects but rather excellent products of political PR.”
An obsession with youth or a flash in the pan?
The advent of a new generation of politicians is not an exclusively positive development, De Morgen writes:
“These are appealing, charming leaders who use their age as a selling point. In this way alone they position themselves outside the traditional politics now viewed by many voters with suspicion. ... But why should these young politicians suddenly be a guarantee for a new culture? This obsession with youth illustrates an important shift in politics, however. ... In the past there were two or three parties whose leaders - often older men with proven credentials - were the only leading candidates. Today this all changes a lot more quickly. Everywhere hierarchical structures are crumbling, in politics too. Young, ambitious individuals climb the ladder faster. But they also go down quicker.”
More innovation, less security
Der Tagesspiegel discusses what the election of a young, new generation of politicians means:
“The start-up generation, along with all that is associated with it, has now arrived in the big political arena. That means more innovation, more flexibility and more opportunities, but also less security, less predictability and less control. France is also getting a taste of this medicine with Emmanuel Macron's attempts to deregulate the labour market and reform the pension system. And while Sebastian Kurz won voters over with his promise of a hard line on refugees, it remains to be seen how he can implement it without isolating Austria in Europe. What holds for both politicians is that their rise to power only means that things will change, but not necessarily for the better.”