Growth and jobs: Reshaping the EU's 'Lisbon Strategy'


As the recession bites, the European Commission and national governments have begun to reflect on replacing the EU's overarching strategy for growth and jobs, known as the Lisbon Strategy. 'Green growth', innovation and education are likely to feature highly among the strategy's new priorities.

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In 2000, the EU launched its ambitious 'Lisbon Strategy' to become "the world's most dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010".

After five years of limited results, EU leaders re-launched the strategy in March 2005, placing greater emphasis on growth and jobs and transferring more ownership to member states via national action plans (see EurActiv LinksDossier).

In March 2008, EU leaders endorsed the priorities for the last three years of the strategy and instructed the European Commission to start reflecting on the period after 2010.

In response to public concern about climate change, ageing populations and social exclusion, EU heads of state and government agreed to shift the Lisbon Agenda away from the purely "growth and jobs" focus of the past three years, putting the environment and citizens in the foreground instead (EurActiv 18/03/08).

Given the current economic turmoil, the pendulum seems to have swung back again, making job creation and increasing competitiveness the bloc's key priorities. 

The priorities for 2008-2010 were identified as:

  • Investing in knowledge and innovation: Member states are invited to report on progress made towards national R&D and innovation strategies in their National Reform Programmes.
  • Unlocking the business potential, especially of SMEs: Continued efforts to cut the administrative burden ('Better Regulation' agenda), and improving companies' access to EU and international markets.
  • Investing in people and modernising labour markets: Facilitating the move towards a 'knowledge-based economy' and strengthening the social dimension of the strategy ('Social Agenda') by investing more in skills and moving towards more flexible yet secure jobs (see EurActiv LinksDossier on 'Flexicurity').
  • Energy and climate change: Agreeing and implementing the EU's energy and climate change package for 2020 (see EurActiv LinksDossier).