An interesting/short piece on Sebastian Kurz, the youngest Foreign Minister in Austria’s history:
If you met Sebastian Kurz in an Austrian café over a pint of lager, you probably wouldn’t guess what he does for a living. Judging by his smart suit and slicked back hair, you might take him for a budding lawyer or banker, maybe even a model on a Brooks Brothers shoot. But this fresh-faced blonde is Austria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Kurz, now 28, was only a year younger when he took the job— and became the youngest cabinet member in the history of the Austrian republic. Europe’s youngest foreign minister, too, who landed in international news when his country hosted the recent Iran nuclear talks. Indeed, his rise has been meteoric, and not just because of his youth and good looks. As it turns out, Kurz has a preternatural ability to hold the spotlight, to remain the star of the ruling conservative People’s Party, thanks to some bold thinking. As the whole of Europe struggles with immigration and jihadism, Kurz intends to make his little country into a model melting pot. Perhaps this is a strange ambition for a right of center leader, but, he says, “There’s really no other choice.”
To be sure, Austria is not exactly a political heavyweight. When most people consider Austria– if they consider it all– they think of it as a southern appendage of Germany. Its population is a mere eight million, a tenth of its neighbor to the north. Yet its small size and high proportion of immigrants may make Austria a sort of microcosm or petri dish for the demographic remaking of Europe. Almost one in five residents were born outside the country.