May 08th 2024

Austria & Europe: Challenges for Economy & Labor.

DFK event with Martin Kocher, Austrian Federal Minister of Labor & Economy.


The association of MCI, University of Innsbruck, and Innsbruck Medical University called "Deutscher Freundeskreis der Universitäten e.V." recently welcomed the Austrian Federal Minister of Labor & Economy Martin Kocher to Innsbruck. The successful event was held in the historic Kaiser Leopold Hall of the Faculty of Theology with numerous partners, supporters, and friends of the three renowned academic institutions, inviting guests to exciting discussions, inspiring content, and valuable encounters.

After the welcome by DFK Chairman Markus Walzl and an introductory lecture by Federal Minister Kocher, the audience engaged in a lively discussion moderated by MCI Rector Andreas Altmann. The general topic "Austria & Europe: Challenges for Economy & Labor" enabled the guests to discuss employment, pensions, social security, energy, and the economy in Austria and Europe with the Federal Minister.

In order to overcome the current challenges, Kocher states clearly, "We need to change our approach now, both in politics and in companies." The fact that economic growth in 2024 appears to be moving sideways is due, among other things, to high wage settlements and low private consumption. The savings rate is higher than expected and wage settlements are a burden on companies. However, things should still pick up and Kocher cautiously predicted, "We expect growth in 2024/25 to be better than in the previous year."

Unemployment and a shortage of qualified workers are also long-term challenges that need to be solved. Everything should be done to attract workers into the labor market through modern work environments and attractive incentives. However, purely financial incentives will not be enough. "We need a social debate about the value and purpose of work. The notion that performance is something positive is controversial. But I believe that performance is always positive," says Kocher.