Commentary
24 Jun 2019

The Iron Ladies of Europe (and Dumbledore)

"Amongst [the] many victims [of a tyrant], there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back,” the venerable wizard Albus Dumbledore once said. We see Europe's several Iron Ladies in this role.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team NewsMavens, Europe
The Iron Ladies of Europe (and Dumbledore) - NewsMavens
Motherland statue of giant woman outside of Kiev, Ukraine

In July Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania's long-reigning Iron Lady, will step down from the presidency. Dubbed the Steel Magnolia by Lithuanian media, she was a notoriously austere head of state, choosing to fly Wizz Air on official delegations, and eschewing other luxuries to show her solidarity with citizens affected by budget cuts -- a rare and refreshing attitude among the European political elite. However, this modesty may not outlive her, as many speculate that her (male) successor might be of a different mind when it comes to displays of luxury.

Europe will thus need to look elsewhere for its next Iron Lady, but there are candidates, Zuzana Čaputová foremost among them.

Gay icon and venerable wizard Albus Dumbledore once said that "amongst [the] many victims [of a tyrant], there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back,” and the aphorism, although meant for Voldemort, is remindful of the way the former corrupt Slovak government brought about its own downfall.

Čaputová, a lawyer by profession and an environmental activist by calling, had nothing to do with politics for most of her life. But when the murders of Ján kuciak and Martina Kušnírová revealed the full incompetence and duplicity of the state, she decided to run for presidency. And, lo and behold, like the much-loved underdog from Hogwarts, she won the final battle.

Laura Codruța-Kövesi, Romania's relentless anti-graft superhero, certainly has the mettle and qualifications required to earn a steel-clad nickname, but she is so violently unpopular among the corrupt political elite of Romania that the EU might deem her too controversial a choice for one of its top jobs.

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, who once slapped Google with several fines worth €4.3 billion for illegal practices, is still in the running for next president of the European Commission. Will the soft-spoken Dane get Europe's top job, after thirteen male presidents since the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community? Here's hoping.

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