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José Manuel Barroso
Président de la Commission européenne
Working together for growth and jobs: a new start for the Lisbon Strategy
Conference of Presidents, European Parliament
Brussels, 2 February 2005

European Commission - SPEECH/05/67   02/02/2005

Other available languages: none

SPEECH/05/67












José Manuel Barroso

Président de la Commission européenne




Working together for growth and jobs: a new start for the Lisbon Strategy






















Conference of Presidents, European Parliament
Brussels, 2 February 2005

Monsieur le Président,

Mesdames, Messieurs les Députés,

Il y a une semaine je vous ai présenté mes propositions pour nos objectifs stratégiques communs pour les années à venir. Je vous ai invité à former avec la Commission un partenariat pour le renouveau de notre continent, un partenariat pour la prospérité, la solidarité et la sécurité.

Ce matin, la Commission a confirmé un élément central de ce partenariat. Elle a adopté une nouvelle Stratégie pour la Croissance et l’Emploi dans l’Union européenne.

  • Notre point de départ : le besoin de restaurer le dynamisme de notre économie et de créer les conditions pour relancer l’emploi. Voilà les sujets qui comptent pour chaque citoyen. Ils doivent renforcer les fondations fortes d’une société bâtie sur la justice sociale, la qualité de vie et des opportunités pour tous.
  • Notre défi : injecter du dynamisme dans le moteur d’une croissance européenne renouvelée, afin de nous permettre de renforcer notre engagement pour la solidarité et la durabilité.
  • Notre conviction est fondée sur un optimisme réaliste: nous savons que nous pouvons libérer le potentiel non exploité de l’Union.

L’Europe a beaucoup de raisons d’être fière : la paix, la prospérité, sa diversité. Aujourd’hui, elle est l’économie la plus avancée au monde avec les Etats-Unis. Elle est la première puissance commerciale et l’une des premières bénéficiaires des investissements mondiaux.

L’Union est aussi attractive, pour les pays qui souhaitent nous rejoindre, pour les entreprises qui veulent investir, pour les gens qui veulent y travailler ou s’y rendre en visite.

Mais, Monsieur le Président, Mesdames, Messieurs les Députés, dans un monde en évolution constante l’Europe ne peut pas rester immobile, ni s’endormir sur ses lauriers.

Le lancement de la stratégie de Lisbonne

Il y a cinq ans, l’Union européenne a lancé un agenda de réformes ambitieux.

Permettez-moi un instant de faire le point sur ce qui a été accompli.

Oui, des progrès ont été réalisés pour dessiner une nouvelle Europe. – les marchés des télécommunications et de l’énergie sont plus ouverts, le Ciel unique européen devient une réalité, les réseaux de transports européens prennent forme.

Oui, les réformes sont en cours dans les Etats membres, et l’élargissement a ouvert de nouveaux marchés, diffusant la prospérité au bénéfice des citoyens et offrant de nouvelles opportunités pour les investissements.

Mais, soyons honnêtes avec nous-mêmes, nous savons que les progrès restent insuffisants. Les réformes, particulièrement dans les Etats membres, doivent être assurées.

Des propositions importantes restent sur la table du Parlement et du Conseil.

Et parfois certains traînent des pieds pour mettre en oeuvre les règles adoptées.

Le changement n’a pas été assez rapide et les citoyens ne sentent pas encore les effets du “facteur Lisbonne” dans leurs vies quotidiennes.

Le besoin urgent de changement

Le besoin de changement face à la compétition mondiale et au vieillissement de notre population, est plus fort encore qu’en l’an 2000.

  • Aujourd’hui, notre potentiel de croissance avoisine seulement 2%. C’est un déclin d’un point en juste une génération.
  • Durant la meme période, les Etats-Unis ont accru leur potential de croissance de 3.5%, tandis que de nouvelles économies comme la Chine et l’Inde continuent de progresser rapidement.
  • Mais nous nous y trompons pas. Il ne s’agit pas seulement de faits et de chiffres. Cela affecte aussi des vies et des personnes.
  • Déjà, trop de gens voulant travailler ne trouvent pas d’emplois en Europe. Trop de gens voient se fermer les portes, particulièrement les femmes et les jeunes.

Working together for jobs and growth

The simple truth from the last five years is that we have to get our economy moving, if more people are to find a job they want and if we hope to preserve and develop our unique model of society, that is our continent’s calling card.

If we can redynamise Europe’s performance, we can help guarantee a sustainable and lasting transformation of our continent.

Sustainable development remains the overarching goal that frames all our economic, social and environmental action.

Let me say this. It is as if I have three children – the economy, our social agenda, and the environment.

Like any modern father – if one of my children is sick, I am ready to drop everything and focus on him until he is back to health. That is normal and responsible.

But that does not mean I love the others any less!

Mr President, Honourable Members,

We must build a new partnership; a broad coalition for change, which mobilises civil society, the social partners and citizens.

We must give a new and stronger focus to the Lisbon Strategy.

We must deliver jobs and growth by:

  • Making Europe an attractive place to invest and work
  • Placing knowledge and innovation at the heart of European growth, and
  • Shaping the policies that allow our businesses to create more and better jobs.

A more attractive place to invest and work

If Europe is to prosper it needs to become a more attractive location for businesses of all sizes across the Union.

Our approach recognises the value of our industrial base, as well as the particular importance of Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

They represent 99% of our businesses and two thirds of employment.

There are too many obstacles to becoming an entrepreneur or starting a business.

We cannot afford to miss these opportunities.

This means making the Internal Market work better. The first responsibility is for Member States to apply the rules that this Parliament and the Council have agreed. No more foot-dragging in key areas of reform.

It means ensuring a fair competitive environment and getting the right approach to regulation at national as well as European level.

I will be bringing forward in March a new initiative on Better Regulation, but one of my aims to be able to draw on external technical expertise to help us in designing impact assessments for specific proposals.

But we also need to make more of global markets both through our bilateral relations, and, in particular, through a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round.

Services and REACH.

I understand the importance this Parliament attaches to services, both to public services and to those services which are the subject of our pending proposal.

I realise as well the importance you attach to the new EU framework for chemicals.

Both proposals go to the heart of the balance we must find together, if the renewed Lisbon Strategy is to deliver lasting growth and jobs.

So let me say this:

  • I believe that service markets must be at the core of the internal market. An effective internal market for services can give a tremendous boost to growth and employment, and bring benefits to consumers in terms of price and choice.
  • But I also believe that strong services of general interest are essential for a dynamic, modern economy and help to ensure cohesion across the Union. This is an issue the Commission will return to later this year.
  • On REACH the challenge is to strike the right balance and to ensure we can promote both competitiveness and innovation and deliver a marked improvement in health and the environment for all of us.

But let me reassure you. On both proposals, my Commission is ready to work constructively with you, the Council and other stakeholders to find the right approach, taking account of all the aspects of both initiatives and without losing sight of their main aims.

Knowledge and innovation

Europe has some of the best brains and the most innovative companies in the World. We only have to look at Airbus or listen to our mobile phones.

We can be proud of our industrial base and of the many millions of innovative small and medium-sized businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy.

Our schools and universities are an investment in success for tomorrow, and a guarantee of a more inclusive, fairer society today.

We must leverage our knowledge base to boost future growth:

  • Member States must speed up efforts to meet the 3% research spending target.
  • As a result of future reform of our State aid rules, Member States and regional and local actors should look at new ways of supporting research and innovation, particularly by the EU’s SMEs. We suggest, for instance, the creation of “Innovation Poles”, partly drawing on EU funding to bring together our best scientific and business minds.
  • Our universities should be a world reference.
  • Let us start by creating a truly “European Institute of Technology” which can build on our strong track record in technology, but also attract the brightest minds from around the world.
  • We must step up our efforts to promote eco-innovation – a new generation of technologies that can help us address current challenges to society; challenges such as climate change, the search for alternative fuel supplies and energy efficiency.

More and Better Jobs

  • A job is the best weapon against poverty. By helping to create the conditions for higher rates of employment the renewed Lisbon strategy is building prosperity and reduce the risks of social exclusion.
  • This is why we place a premium on national reforms to modernise labour and social policies. They are the first step to addressing the EU demographic challenges. The Commission will be launching a broad debate on the impact of an ageing population with a Green Paper soon.
  • Pushing up employment means equipping people throughout their lives with the skills they need to adapt to change and ensuring that our tax and benefit systems help people into the workplace and offer the right incentives for them to remain there.
  • But we also recognise that this is an area where the major responsibility for change falls to Member State authorities, and to the social partners.

Let me add a further word about the role of business and our trade unions as Social Partners.

Our tradition of social dialogue, backed up by appropriate action at EU level, has been an important factor for the economic and social progress.

The Social Partners are particularly well placed at European - but also at national level - to help deliver lasting growth and quality jobs.

I hope they will lead by example in identifying concrete actions.

I look forward to hearing what they are able to do and hope to meet them before the Spring European Council.

  • The Commission will, of course, play its role to guide and facilitator, contributing developments at EU and national level.

The need for a Partnership

Why should Lisbon work this time round?

It must work, because it represents the right diagnosis and the right remedy, and there is not a credible alternative.

I believe there is increasing recognition that we are on the right track.

But to deliver results, it is essential that we have greater success in getting all European and national actors working together. Lisbon is a shared agenda – par excellence.

But success depends on reaching beyond national capitals. This is not just for Member States.

The Spring European Council next March should hear the voice of this Parliament. We will know that Lisbon is working, if it becomes the subject of national political debate.

So we must explain what Lisbon is and why it is important.

This is also shared responsibility – for this Commission, but also for every Member of this Parliament. Together we must mobilise civil society, regional and local authorities, business leaders and all those with a stake in Lisbon’s success.

This is where the Lisbon Agenda fell down in the past. We cannot afford to let this second chance slip by.

Need for ownership as well – “new Lisbon governance”

To make this partnership work, we also need greater ownership of the objectives. This means a clear set of priorities and a simple, understood way of following and ensuring progress.

To help to build this ownership, we have proposed:

  • A more integrated approach to macro-economic and employment policy co-ordination within an integrated Lisbon cycle.
  • A clear role for the Commission, European Council and this Parliament.
  • A Community Lisbon Action Plan to focus the work that is needed to be complemented by National Lisbon Action Plans. These should be developed by Member States only after broad consultation of stakeholders and their Parliaments.
  • Member States to identify a Mr or Ms Lisbon at government level to drive this process forward.
  • Simpler reporting – in future there will be only one Lisbon report at EU level and only one report at national level.

Conclusion

I know we are setting ourselves a daunting challenge. But if we look at the single market in 1992, the euro in 1999 or even enlargement and the Constitution in the last twelve months we know that together we can deliver the results that Europe’s citizens demand.

I am quite certain that the race for growth and jobs will be Europe’s next great project.

With your support I believe the Strategy we have launched today maps out the route to take us there.

Thank you.


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