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Lisbon Strategy


At the EU Summit in Lisbon in March 2000, the Heads of State and Government agreed on the following objective: “to make the European Union the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. This goal was complemented by an environment and sustainable development dimension at the European Council in Gothenburg a year later.

Since then, the European Council’s annual Spring Summit has been dedicated to debate on issues relating to the Lisbon Strategy and to examining the progress made by the European Union and its Member States. Priorities are analysed and defined on the basis of a report submitted by the European Commission.

At the recommendation of the March 2004 Spring Summit, an independent high-level group was set up under the chairmanship of the former Dutch Prime Minister, Wim Kok, to examine the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy. The group’s report published in November 2004 pointed out that the Member States had neglected to undertake necessary reforms in order to drive forward the ambitious Lisbon objectives. The high-level group also stressed that the commitments needed to be implemented without delay, especially in view of the social, demographic and economic challenges facing Europe.

On the basis of the Kok report and the recommendations of the European Commission’s report, the 2005 Spring Summit decided - in the context of the mid-term review - to refocus the Lisbon Strategy on increasing growth and creating jobs. The Heads of State and Government agreed to improve coordination of the implementing measures: in order to make better use of the existing instruments in the Treaty to coordinate economic and employment policy (broad guidelines of economic policies and employment guidelines), integrated guidelines for growth and employment for the period 2005-2008 were agreed for the first time in July 2005.

The Member States transposed these integrated guidelines into ambitious national reform programmes that take account of their needs and specific circumstances by the target date of autumn 2005 proposed by the Commission. In the summer, the European Commission, for its part, also submitted a “Community Lisbon programme” which covers all actions to be taken at Community level. These two instruments are considered essential for improving growth and employment. In addition to a clearer focus on substance, the new Lisbon Strategy is characterised by a better allocation of competences and responsibilities in line with an approach based on partnership.

Austria’s activities during the Presidency of the Council of the EU

For this reason, implementation of the relaunched Lisbon Strategy and its focus on more growth and jobs in the EU will play an important role during the Austrian Presidency of the Council. Based on the progress report of the European Commission and on the preparatory work of the Council, the Spring Summit under the Austrian Presidency will take stock of the national reform programmes and, where appropriate, indicate any changes that need to be made to the integrated guidelines.

 

Date: 22.12.2005