Brussels, 2 February 2005
The European Commission today presented a new strategy for the EU to create more growth and jobs. The strategy aims to revitalize the so-called Lisbon Agenda - the EUs economic reform agenda from 2000. The actions proposed today by the European Commission could boost GDP by 3% by 2010 and create over 6 million jobs. There is a compelling case for urgent action. Five years after its launch, the Lisbon Strategy is not on track to deliver the expected results. To preserve the EU’s model of sustainable development for the future, the competitiveness of the Union must be strengthened, its economy must be dynamised. The Commission sets out a concrete action programme for the EU and its Member States to generate sustained economic growth and more and better jobs. It calls on Member States to launch a new EU partnership for growth and jobs at the Spring European Council (22/23 March).
Commission President Barroso said: "Europe must do better. What we are proposing today is to release Europe's tremendous economic potential. This is needed to maintain the European model of society we value so much. This is the foundation for social justice and opportunity for all. Our ambition is undiminished. The overall Lisbon goals were right, but the implementation was poor. The lesson from the last five years is that we must re-focus this agenda to deliver results. With this new strategy, I believe we have the right tools to achieve our goals. The real issue is not about facts and figures on paper. It is about their impact on people’s lives: how we pay for our education, pensions, social services and health care. With these proposals, we have made tough choices and tough judgements. Our vision is, and remains, sustainable development. The Commission will be undeterred in its push for economic renewal."
Vice-President Günter Verheugen added: "This time we have to get it right, join forces and deliver on what our citizens care most about: jobs. Today’s message is: There are no miracle solutions. We have to get down to work in a spirit of partnership and set the political framework to boost growth and jobs. The Commission will do its part that business can get on with business."
The European Commission today presented its policy recommendations for the Mid-Term Review of the so-called Lisbon agenda. To move from words to action, the Commission believes a renewed drive and focus on fewer, achievable objectives are necessary. Lisbon has been blown off course by a combination of economic conditions, international uncertainty, slow progress in the Member States and a gradual loss of political focus.
Faced with the challenge of ageing societies in Europe and intensifying international competition from countries such as India and China, Europe needs to raise its productivity growth and employ more people.
The Commission has put forward a concrete action programme which focuses on :
Making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work
Knowledge and innovation for growth
Creating more and better jobs
Partnership: Responsibility for the broad policy areas of employment, macroeconomic policy and structural reforms is shared between the Union and the Member States: therefore a partnership is needed. The Action Programme makes a clear distinction between actions at Member States and European Union level: building on the experience of the Internal Market Programme – it identifies responsibilities, sets deadlines and measures progress. Governments should appoint a “Mr or Ms Lisbon” to take charge of implementation.
It simplifies the delivery mechanisms: there will be – after wide consultation - one single national action programme and one single national implementation report.
Ambition has a cost: The Union will only be able to deliver on its investment and social cohesion objectives if the Member States are prepared to grant the EU a budget that reflects its key economic and social priorities and joint commitments.