Brussels, 28 January 2009
Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: "The €200 billion targeted fiscal stimulus proposed by the Commission and agreed in December is the crucial short-term energy boost our economies need to fight the crisis while also investing in the future. But we need a comprehensive medium-term fitness plan and the Lisbon Strategy provides that. We face difficult times and we will not emerge from them overnight. But Member States must agree and implement the much-needed structural reforms set out in today's recommendations, to pave the way for a gradual but lasting return to creating growth and jobs, within a greener and fairer economy."
To take account of the exceptional situation, this year's country chapters are shorter and more focused than in previous years. They include proposals for country specific recommendations for endorsement by the Spring European Council and subsequent formal adoption by the Council. The Recommendations have legal force. They mean in practice that Member States will, as in previous years agree collectively, based on the Commission's proposal, on the areas each Member State should address with the highest priority, to build up the strength of its economy in the medium-term.
The country chapters are accompanied by reports on the overall implementation of the strategy, which reflect the impact of the financial crisis on the real economy. While the picture that emerges is sobering, there are some positive points. All Member States are taking constructive action to counter the crisis. In the micro-economic area, for example, most are introducing measures to help SMEs seize the opportunities offered by the low carbon, low resource use economy and to facilitate their access to financing. Policies aimed at helping those who lose their jobs back into work as quickly as possible are essential to minimise the labour market impact of the crisis.
Taken together with the measures already put forward in the Recovery Plan and with the report on the Community Lisbon programme adopted on 16 December, the country chapters and the accompanying reports constitute the full Lisbon Strategy Annual Progress Report.
Some more detailed country specific analysis underpinning the conclusions and recommendations is published in an accompanying staff working paper.
The full texts adopted will be available, along with all background information on the Lisbon Growth and Jobs Strategy, at: