Brussels, 25th October
A first assessment of action at European level within the partnership for Growth and Jobs demonstrates that the relaunched Strategy is starting to deliver results. The first progress report on the implementation of the Community Lisbon Programme (CLP) shows that by 31July 2006, the European Commission had adopted 75 of the 102 policy actions covered by the CLP up to 2007. The onus is now on the European Parliament and Council to adopt these proposals as quickly as possible. The momentum will be further increased with the scheduled adoption, by the end of the year, of the Services Directive, the 7th Research Framework Programme and SESAR (the European air traffic control infrastructure modernisation programme). Political leadership will be required to make progress on issues such as patent policy and the Payment Services Directive. This report is presented in parallel to the national progress reports submitted by Member States for their areas of responsibility under the Partnership for Growth and Jobs. After assessing the national progress reports, the Commission will present its Annual Progress Report on 12 December 2006.
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said, “This progress report on the Community Lisbon Programme and the submission of the national progress reports demonstrates that the Barroso Commission has taken significant steps to boost the EU’s economic and social performance. The business climate in Europe has been improved. This, in turn, is leading to higher economic growth rates and more job creation. We should capitalise on this favourable situation and push through the reform agenda energetically. We now also need the Commission proposals to be adopted as quickly as possible by the legislators.”
The first assessment of the Community Lisbon Programme shows progress in the following areas:
1) Knowledge and Innovation – engines of sustainable growth
Good progress has been made in setting up a governance structure at EU-level for meeting the 3% of GDP target for investment in research. The broad-based innovation strategy recently adopted identifies the need for EU action to improve the EU innovation system to make Europe a truly knowledge-based and innovation-friendly society (see IP/06/1181). This approach was endorsed by Europe’s leaders at the informal Summit in Lahti on 20 October 2006.
2) Making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work
A significant number of policy actions envisaged in the state aid action plan have been adopted. The review of the internal market is a crucial building block to improve Europe’s overall business environment. Even though the legal framework is largely in place, potential benefits of the single market still remain unrealised. Particular attention should be paid to small and medium sized enterprises as they are a major source for growth and jobs.
The Commission is pushing ahead with its better regulation initiative. Significant progress has been made over the last 18 months. A strategic review of better regulation to be adopted by the Commission on 14 November 2006 will assess the progress to date and outline a series of new initiatives.
In order to ensure not only competitive markets inside, but also outside Europe, the Commission has recently launched its external competitiveness agenda. This agenda includes initiatives on market access, EU policy on China, public procurement markets, trade defence instruments, steps to further protect intellectual property rights and a new generation of bilateral trade agreements to build on the EU’s strong commitment to the WTO (see IP/06/1303).
The preparatory work on the common consolidated corporate tax base is ongoing and adoption of a proposal by the Commission is envisaged by the end of 2008.
3) More and better Jobs
Both the European Qualification Framework and the European Institute of Technology (IP/06/1416) are Community initiatives that have been successfully launched by the Commission. The informal Summit in Lahti on 20 October 2006 gave a general welcome to the proposal on the EIT adopted on 18 October 2006.
This implementation report is the first step of a two-step strategy. It is a factual document on the state of implementation of the CLP and the basis for a second step which will start later this year consisting of a more thorough assessment of the contribution towards the Lisbon objectives and identifying new possible action in key areas. Minor adjustments may be envisaged in the context of the Annual Progress Report to be adopted on 12 December 2006, while a more substantial review will be provided in the 2008 Strategic Report at the end of the first three-year cycle.