Having received national reform programmes on growth and jobs from all member states, the Commission has presented its first annual progress report on the Lisbon strategy. The report is mildly optimistic.
Addressing journalists in Brussels on 25 January 2005, Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: “My overall message is clear, it is time to move up a gear. […] We’ve come a long way since last year and the right foundations are now in place. […] Now the spotlight moves to delivery.” Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, in charge of enterprise and industry, compared the 25 member states to a group of ships. “The convoy has left the harbour and is slowly and jointly moving in the right direction – not all at the same speed, but the process encourages slower ships to step up speed.”
When asked about concerns regarding differences between the national action plans, Commissioner Verheugen admitted: “It is true that the quality is very different, but I am more than happy that the process has started.” President Barroso declined to comment on which countries were doing worse than others, saying he believed a collaborative effort was going to achieve more than “naming and blaming” member states for shortcomings.
Barroso said he also did not believe in a sanction system similar to the one established for the Stability and Growth Pact: “It would not be accepted by member states, and we want to do this in partnership with them. We hope that the member states will accept this kind of peer review, of collective monitoring.”