The EU summit largely limited itself to re-confirming existing Lisbon targets, but did introduce new goals on youth employment.
The following points were agreed at the summit:
Unemployment: Against the backdrop of “intensified competition from abroad, an ageing population, higher energy prices and the need to safeguard energy security,” the summit stated that the EU is “expected to create six million new jobs during the three-year period 2005-2007, helping to reduce unemployment from a peak of 9% at the end of 2004 by roughly 1% in 2007”.
The European Council stressed that “efforts should be intensified to reduce early school leaving to 10% and to ensure that at least 85% of 22 year olds should have completed upper secondary education. By the end of 2007 every young person who has left school and is unemployed should be offered a job, apprenticeship, additional training or other employability measure within six months, and within no more than 4 months by 2010.”
SME’s: The European Council acknowledged the importance of creating “a more favourable business environment, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)” and called for “a regulatory environment that is simple, transparent and easy to apply.”
Entrepreneurship: “The member states should establish, by 2007, a one-stop-shop, or arrangements with equivalent effect, for setting up a company.” The objective is being able to do this “within one week anywhere in the EU by the end of 2007.”
Member States were encouraged to “strengthen respective measures, including through entrepreneurship education and training at the appropriate level of education.”
The services directive: The European Parliament’s recent vote at first reading was welcomed. The European Council took “good note of the Commission’s intention to base the amending proposal largely on the outcome of the European Parliament’s first reading and [expressed] the hope that the institutions will be able to swiftly conclude the legislative process.”
Energy sections take overs: Tensions over French, Spanish and Polish efforts to keep out rival companies from other EU member states were noticeable in their impact on the mood at the sidelines of the summit without formally being on the agenda.