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Minister Turk: “What we need is a strong launch of the third cycle of the Lisbon Strategy”

The Slovenian Minister for Growth, Dr Žiga Turk, today at the plenary part-session of the European Parliament, as the representative of the EU Council Presidency, took part in the debate on the Lisbon Strategy and broad economic policy guidelines for 2008.

In March, the Council is expected to discuss the conclusions of the three-year cycle (2008–2010) of the Lisbon Strategy. The Minister presented the opinion of the Council that the revised Lisbon Strategy is working and already yielding results, and that it is not necessary to amend the integrated guidelines – with the exception of accompanying texts. However, he said, greater attention should be paid to implementation of the reforms and ensuring their results. The Council also believes that the principles of the Lisbon Strategy remain applicable, and the broader economic guidelines quite stable, but obstacles to their implementation should be removed. The national programmes of reforms were drawn up with a view to improving implementation; therefore, the key issue to be addressed is their ownership and communication at all levels.

Minister Turk said that the Council was informed about the draft opinion of the European Parliament concerning this area: “I am pleased that the European Parliament is actively involved in a comprehensive debate on the next cycle, preparing an opinion on the broad guidelines and on the Lisbon Strategy, thus contributing to greater visibility of the process. We had several opportunities to exchange opinions, namely within the consultation of the ECON Committee, the Troika, and the inter-parliamentary meeting. Both of us – Members of the European Parliament and the Council – have a common goal, which is to boost implementation of the Lisbon Strategy. This process must engage other stakeholders, as well: national parliaments, social partners, regional and local authorities, and civil society,” said Dr Turk at the beginning of his address. 

The more demanding economic environment additionally justifies the need for reforms from the integrated guidelines for growth and jobs in order to maintain stable economic growth. Particularly now, at the beginning of the second cycle of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, it is essential to maintain impetus and boost reform efforts focused on further growth of productivity and employment, namely by strengthening European human resources, improving labour markets and migration policies, and encouraging innovation, competition and business-friendly regulations, especially by progress in attaining one specific goal, namely the reduction of the administrative burden in the EU.

The measures taken at the Community level should complement, facilitate and strengthen political action in the four priority areas of the Member States. 

The single market is the main driving force to improve the living standard of European citizens, as well as EU competitiveness in the global economy. The priority task is to ensure further progress through measures targeted at areas where their effect will be the best, namely at network activities, services and innovations, which will also support a business-friendly single market.

The Council considers that, with regard to the transformation of Europe into a permanent, energy efficient and low-carbon economy, it is of vital importance that progress be achieved in the agreed political goals, namely the promotion of sustainable environmental development, improved security of the energy supply, and availability of secure and competitively priced energy. Furthermore, it is necessary to develop market-based instruments to achieve political goals concerning energy and climate in a cost-effective and flexible manner.

Broad guidelines for European policies and conclusions concerning the employment policies are to be adopted by the Council in March. The Council will also adopt specific recommendations for Member States with regard to their progress in implementing national reform programmes, and invite all actors involved – the Council, the Commission and the Parliament – to implement the Community Lisbon Programme. The Council will also support some key activities and goals in four priority fields: Europe’s concern for the environment, Europe’s concern for its citizens and their social status, efforts towards a more active Europe, and efforts towards a more innovative and creative Europe.


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Date: 22.02.2008