Austrian Chancellor Says EU Will Be Reduced to ‘Alcohol & Psychotropic Drugs’ If Inflation Not Tamed

CC0 / / Glass of beer
Glass of beer - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.07.2022
European nations are facing what is shaping up to be the region’s gravest inflation and energy crisis since the 1970s Arab oil embargo, except this time the emergency has been largely self-inflicted by Brussels’ push to “phase out” Russian energy to “punish” Moscow for its ongoing military special operation in Ukraine.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has sparked a national conversation after offering a sobering warning about what will happen to the country and the European Union as a whole if the current inflation crisis remains unchecked.
“This is a rise in prices, this is inflation, this is an absurdly high level of spending on energy. And we must take measures in such a way so as not to spur inflation, but try to bypass it together with the European Union,” Nehammer said at an Austrian People’s Party state congress in Tyrol over the weekend.
“If we continue in the same spirit, we will eventually have only two solutions: alcohol or psychotropic drugs. And I say that alcohol is basically okay. The main thing is to only toast when you’re feeling good,” Nehammer quipped, evoking laughter from the audience.
The chancellor admitted that getting inflation under control would be “anything but easy.”
Nehammer’s remarks went viral, and sparked a flurry of criticism from the opposition Freedom Party, with general secretary Michael Schnedlitz characterizing the comments as “flippant” and a reflection of the “complete failure of the government” to deal with the inflation crisis.

Austrian Humor: It’s No Laughing Matter

Austrian media reported that the chancellor’s remarks sparked a “sh*tstorm” of criticism online, with some attacking Nehammer and accusing him of poking fun at addictions and the mentally ill at a time of crisis, while others made jokes about being motivated to buy “a pitchfork and a torch” in addition to alcohol and drugs after hearing the chancellor speak.
“Nehammer has announced the government’s next package of aid against inflation with his alcohol statement. Every household gets a voucher for a six-pack,” one person joked.
“Alcohol and psychotropic drugs are all the government has to offer to combat inflation,” another wrote.
The chancellor’s “alcohol or psychotropics” line apparently isn’t the first time he’s used the joke in a speech, having previously uttered it a party conference in Lower Austria in April, according to
The Austrian National Bank issued its annual inflation forecast for 2022 on Monday, predicting that inflation will peak at 7.6 percent for the year – the country’s worst performance since the global oil crisis of the 1970s, before declining to 5 percent and 3.2 percent in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
People walk by the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.07.2022
This Year's Inflation in Austria to Exceed 7% for First Time Since 1970s Oil Crisis
As a landlocked Central European country with no access to LNG, Austria has had difficulty weaning itself off of Russian energy, depending on Russian natural gas for about 80 percent of its consumption, and on Russian oil for about 10 percent of supplies, in 2021.
Nations across the European Union have been hit by inflation rates unseen in half a century amid a perfect storm of crises caused by factors ranging from a poorer-than-expected post-COVID recovery to excessive money printing, overdependence on green energy, and heightened energy prices caused by skyrocketing Asian demand for gas. The inflation and energy price crises have been exacerbated dramatically by Brussels’ attempt to “punish” Russia for its military operation in Ukraine by banning or severely restricting imports of Russian energy.
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