- Chancellor Christian Kern set out 10-year plan focused on jobs and the economy
- He is battling a resurgent Freedom Party and their anti-immigration rhetoric
- New plans mean a job will only go to a migrant if no citizens are suitable for it
- It comes amid persistent speculation the party’s coalition is about to collapse
The Austrian government has defied the European Union with plans to give jobs to locals first in a bid to stop the surge of support for the anti-migrant Freedom Party.
In an apparent bid to win back voters from the Freedom Party (FPO), the centre-left Chancellor Christian Kern set out a 10-year plan focused on jobs and the economy.
Faced with a resurgent FPO that is running first in opinion polls and is buoyed by fears about Europe’s migration crisis and rising unemployment, Kern called for the EU to allow preference for Austrian citizens in sectors with high joblessness.
The Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern delivers The Future of Austria speech in Wels
The Chancellor laid out his 10-year plan in a bid to win back votes from the rival parties
His centre-left government is under pressure from the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPO)
Mr Kern clasps his hands together as the crowd around him applaud the delivery of his speech
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern holds aloft a book at his speech in Wels, Austria
He said: ‘That means – only if there is no suitable unemployed person in the country can a job be given to new arrivals without restriction,’ in a memo outlining his plan.
It singled out immigration from eastern European member states as a source of pressure on the small country’s job market.
Mr Kern’s plan runs way beyond the fixed term of government which ends in 2018
Speaking at an event in Wels, Mr Kern outlined a plan that runs well beyond the expiry of his coalition government’s term in 2018.
Wels is the biggest town in Austria to be run by an FPO mayor and which had long been a stronghold of his Social Democrats.
There has been persistent speculation that the coalition between Kern’s Social Democrats and the conservative People’s Party will collapse.
That would leave the FPO well placed to win the snap election that would follow, since it is running a clear first in polls on more than 30 percent.
Kern’s plan also expanded on comments he made last year in which he denounced multinational firms that base themselves in an EU country with a low tax base so they can avoid or reduce their tax bill in other EU states they operate in.
His plan called for a ‘punitive’ tax of more than 25 percent to be imposed on companies that book profits from sales in Austria in other European countries to avoid paying Austrian tax.
He also said online companies like Google should have to pay the same tax on advertising revenue as newspapers.
New border protection officers attend their swearing-in ceremony in Budapest
They will work alongside police and soldiers in patrolling a razor-wire fence built to keep migrants out
It comes as the first batch of Hungary’s ‘border hunters’ were sworn in before they get to work patrolling a razor-wire fence built to keep migrants out.
Members of the border protection officers’ new unit attended their swearing-in ceremony in Budapest today, and will undergo six months of training before they go on duty.
The new recruits will support Hungarian police officers and soldiers in border protection, and will be equipped with pistols with live ammunition, pepper spray, batons, handcuffs and protective kit.
Hungarian police were looking to recruit 3,000 of the ‘border hunters’ who will reinforce up to 10,000 police and soldiers.