Correspondent's Choice

This was first published as part of Growth and jobs: reshaping the EU’s ‘Lisbon Strategy’ by on Tuesday 23rd June.

Besides the economic recession, EU officials have already identified a number of underlying challenges and opportunities that will shape the future Lisbon Agenda after 2010:

  • Globalisation: The rapid emergence of new economic powers implies a fundamental shift in the balance of power between industrialised nations and the developing world, according to the Commission. Countries such as China are now starting to move from low-tech, cheap manufacturing and assembly to high-tech products. The EU should enhance its relations with such players, EU officials believe.
  • The ICT revolution: Information and communication technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones are creating new opportunities for business. As the Internet knows no frontiers, SMEs in particular can now aspire to become global, the Commission believes.
  • Demographic change: As the baby-boomer generation begins to retire, the strain on public finances will grow heavier, as fewer people will be at work to support them.
  • Climate change and access to natural resources: Rising demand for natural resources from emerging economies could put some energy-intensive industries at risk and threaten vulnerable parts of the population. Food prices and the cost of raw materials are of particular concern.

According to Commission sources, a number of topics are likely to feature in the EU policy response. They include:

  • Opening up markets to unlock business potential;
  • Investing in knowledge (education, research and innovation ‘triangle’);
  • Investments in energy infrastructure, and;
  • Investing in human capital with skills training and a more flexible yet secure labour market (flexicurity).

Foreign policy and trade dimension

Among the new elements, the revised agenda is expected to give more emphasis to the foreign policy dimension. For example, co-operation on regulatory issues with other major economies such as the United States and China is seen as increasingly important to bring down non-tariff barriers and improve European companies’ access to world markets. Climate change and energy technologies are a good example of such possible areas of cooperation.

Attempts to shape globalisation rather than giving in to external pressure will also form an important part of the new strategy. Here, the revised strategy will build on the ‘Global Europe’ initiative tabled in 2006 by then EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, which set out an external ‘competitiveness agenda’ featuring the following elements:

  • Completing the Doha round of WTO talks and bilateral free trade agreements;
  • A greater focus on China, with a “comprehensive new strategy”;
  • Co-operation on intellectual property rights with partners in Asia, Russia and Latin America;
  • A market access strategy to focus on non-tariff barriers in key sectors as well as ensuring European companies get better access to public procurement markets abroad, and;
  • Anti-dumping and other “trade defence instruments”.

On the international stage, the EU has already shown increasing leadership with the financial crisis, placing itself at the forefront of global initiatives to regulate financial markets and taking a leading role at the G20 summit in London.

But the bloc also showed its limits, as all the largest EU countries are jealous of keeping their seats in key international institutions such as the United Nations Security Council or the International Monetary Fund.

To read the full article, please click here.

EurActiv has also interviewed Gerard de Graaf, Head of Unit of the European Commission’s Lisbon Strategy’s “Strategic Objective Prosperity”.

If you would like to express an opinion on the subject, please use the comments box below.

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  1. I applaud EurActiv for your excellent coverage on the future of the Lisbon Agenda. Given your very useful format, i.e. the dossiers and links to articles and organisations, it’s a tremendous resource for information. Also, summaries like these are very valuable.

    And with regards to this post, it is time to focus on real policy issues again – such as the European Commission’s successor programme to i2010 – and stop quibbling about institutional arrangements and reform treaties. The upcoming Digital Europe initiative will be a key tool for member states to restore sustainable growth and create the jobs we so urgently need. The current crisis makes these kind of ambitious initiatives all of a sudden possible, and it deserves our collective attention and support. We owe it to the citizens of Eurpe, who rightly want Brussels to focus on issues that bring tangible benefits and restore prosperity.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

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