He told the ORF that this should lead to full employment in Austria. He also suggested that one way to boost people’s chances of gaining employment would be to raise the age for compulsory education or training to 25 – a move that might prove unpopular.
Currently young people aged 18 and under must be in school or training programmes. Kern added that he wants to see more opportunities for adult education created.
The chancellor admitted that the recent rise in the number of migrants and refugees coming to Austria is a challenge for the labour market, but that the government is focussing on reducing the number of immigrants to a “manageable figure”, and making integration a priority.
When asked about his future as chancellor, Kern said he is confident he will remain as the head of the government for the next ten years – but doesn’t believe that it’s right for anyone to remain in power for more than two terms.
Political scientist Peter Filzmaier dismissed Kern’s announcement that he plans to create 200,000 new jobs as nothing more than “populism”, pointing out that there will be a general election in 2018, and the SPÖ may not hold onto its majority in the coalition.
He added that Kern’s biggest strength is that he is not the unpopular former chancellor Werner Faymann – but that the next big challenge will be finding a suitable coalition partner after the general election.
The SPÖ and its coalition partner since 2008, the centre-right People's Party (ÖVP), have dominated Austrian politics since World War II but their support has been sliding in recent years.
The far-right Freedom Party has tapped into growing unease about immigration after Austria saw 90,000 people claim asylum last year. And the two main parties have also presided over a rise in unemployment, with Austria losing its crown as the EU member with the lowest unemployment.