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EU leaders to launch the new cycle of the Lisbon Strategy and keep the Climate and Energy Package on track

At the spring European Council meeting, EU Heads of State and Government on Thursday resolved to launch the new three-year cycle of the Lisbon Strategy and to keep the ambitious climate and energy package on track. This will be confirmed on Friday when they adopt the conclusions of their summit.

"We agreed that the renewed Lisbon Strategy is working well and is delivering results, as shown by the fact that the basis of the European economy is healthy, that 6.5 million new jobs have been created, that the budget deficit has been halved in comparison with 2005 and that the European growth rate stands at 2.9%," said the Slovenian Prime Minister and President of the European Council, Janez Janša, today. "But this is not the time to rest. New challenges lie ahead and we need to focus on implementation and on structural reforms."

The focus should therefore be on the needs of our citizens through enhancing the social dimension and greater emphasis on education. We must also take care of the environment, as the full potential of economic and social reforms can be achieved only in synergy with a sustainable and healthy environment. The EU should also become more entrepreneurial, with greater focus on the potential of SMEs. Lastly, the EU should be more innovative. To this end, barriers to the free movement of knowledge should be removed and the 'fifth freedom' established.


The Climate and Energy Package

The bulk of the discussion was devoted to the energy and climate package. "The EU must maintain its established role as a leader in international negotiations on a global post-2012 agreement. To achieve this, we need a clear set of basic principles on which the package will be based and a clear timeline for adoption. We aim to reach an agreement whereby the package can be approved by the Member States by the end of 2008, thus enabling it to be adopted by 2009 at the latest," declared the Slovenian Premier.

At the working dinner, the leaders also discussed the external dimension of energy security, in particular the security of energy supplies. They all agreed that, in negotiations with third parties on energy issues, the EU and its Member States should speak with a single voice.

Finally, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel informed the other EU leaders of their proposal for a 'Union for the Mediterranean', designed to upgrade the existing Barcelona Process and to include all the EU Member States and the non-EU Mediterranean coastal states.

On Friday, the European Council will formally approve conclusions on all three main topics: the launch of the second cycle of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, the climate and energy package, and stability on the financial markets.


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Date: 14.03.2008