Kok wants more peer pressure and fewer objectives for Lisbon agenda

The high-level expert group carrying out a review of the Lisbon
process is expected to propose that Member States draw up national
action plans to boost employment and growth in the EU.

In its report on the progress on achieving the Lisbon targets,
the expert group chaired by Wim Kok is expected to recommend that
Member States draw up national action plans to boost the EU’s
competitiveness. According to the Financial Times, the former Dutch
prime minister will also recommend cutting back on the number of
goals set out by the Lisbon agenda.

There is no doubt that Member States are falling badly behind
schedule in their efforts to achieve the ambitious goals set out at
the Lisbon Summit 2000 to “make the EU the most competitive
knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010” and the Kok report is
expected to confirm this. 

The idea of making national governments draw up individual
action plans to boost growth and jobs is designed to increase peer
pressure. 

Moreover, a stronger focus on fewer objectives such as raising
employment in the EU from the current 64 to 70 per cent and
boosting growth rates, should help Member States to concentrate on
the core economic target of Lisbon. This bears the danger of
neglecting the two other pillars of the agenda: the social and
environmental dimensions of sustainable growth.

“National action plans will get us nowhere,” says Paul Hofheinz
of the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based citizens action group.
“Rather than distributing blame, the report should highlight
how the EU can make it possible for the member states
to deliver.” 

The report by the high-level expert group, which is being
finalised this week, will be presented to the European Council on 5
November 2004. The Spring Summit in March 2004 had commissioned Wim
Kok to write the report as a basis for a mid-term review of the
Lisbon process (see ).

 

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