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Turk speaks on Lisbon Strategy today at European Economic and Social Committee

Minister for Growth Dr Žiga Turk took part today in the high-level conference in Brussels of the European Economic and Social Committee concerning the renewed Lisbon Strategy for the period 2008-2010. He emphasised the good experiences of Slovenia in social dialogue and presented the priorities of the new Lisbon Strategy cycle.

As an adjunct to its February meeting, the European Economic and Social Committee organised a conference for today and tomorrow on the topic of the Lisbon Strategy. The discussion is aimed at how, within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, bigger and better things can be achieved and what the role of the civil society is in this. In the afternoon the committee was addressed by Minister Turk, who is the national coordinator for the Lisbon Strategy in the Presidency holder Slovenia, and by the Vice President of the European Commission Günter Verheugen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry. Both speakers presented the coming challenges and opportunities for Europe. 

In his speech, Minister Turk highlighted the importance of social dialogue for successful reform. He stressed that in Slovenia we have good experiences in social dialogue. Slovenia’s national reform programme and its implementation of the Lisbon Strategy were discussed in Slovenia both in the Economic and Social Council and in the Council for Sustainable Development.

The minister also said that with economic growth of 2.7%, unemployment below 7% and public debt below 60%, economic indicators in the EU were reflecting the implemented economic reforms, including in Slovenia, where economic performance was even better, with economic growth of between 6 and 7%, unemployment below 5%, public debt below 30% and a balanced budget.

As a key European project, the Lisbon Strategy represents measures for the Member States towards the more rapid and stable economic growth of individual countries and of Europe as a whole. The first three-year cycle of the Lisbon Strategy will end during the Slovenian Presidency in 2008. The updated package of documents must respond primarily to the key challenges facing the European Union. Minister Turk was also committed to the rapid start-up of the new cycle and to an enhancement of reforms, especially owing to the unstable situation on world markets. He also welcomed the support of the European Economic and Social Committee in the Lisbon Strategy.

For the imminent new cycle of the Lisbon Strategy for 2008-2010, for which guidelines will be adopted at the March Council, Minister Turk outlined to participants the priorities of the new cycle, which are a creative and innovative Europe, an enterprising Europe, a Europe that cares for people and a Europe that cares for the environment.


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Date: 12.02.2008