It was one of Europe's most notorious banking failures, and now it's one that will haunt Austrians for at least another couple of generations.

The country sold 5 billion euros (US$5.4 billion) of bonds on Tuesday, including 2 billion euros of securities due in 70 years, joining the club of nations selling debt with ultra-long maturities. Behind the fanfare, though, was how the money will be used: to close the books on what's left of Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG, whose collapse in 2009 led to billions in state bailouts, a winding up order and now seven decades of interest payments.

As the political landscape fragments across Europe, Austria's bond sale is a lesson in the perils of populism. 

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