Wim Kok, former Prime Minister of The Netherlands, presented (on the 3rd November) Facing the Challenge, the report of the High Level Group on the Lisbon strategy that he has chaired.
The report concludes that the disappointing delivery of the strategy has been due primarily to a lack of determined political action. The agenda has been overloaded, coordination has beenpoor and there have been conflicting priorities.
The message from the High Level Group is that while all three pillars of the Lisbon strategy economic, social and environmental remain valid, the priority now is for Europe to boost its economic growth rate and increase employment.
Europe faces two enormous challenges increasing global competition and a rapidly ageing population. In the face of these challenges, if Europe is to safeguard and strengthen its distinctive economic and social model, it must adapt. The status quo is not an option.
Achieving higher growth and employment demands committed and convincing political leadership, at national and European levels, combined with a greater effort to engage Europes citizens with the case for urgent change. Communication of the Lisbon strategy and its relevance to every household in Europe must be drastically improved.
In such an environment, the importance of initiatives such as ScanBalt cannot be emphasised enough. The ‘joined up’ cluster approach to sectorial development has been proven again and again. Without the critical mass which metaregional development provides, the individual competiveness of the North European countries cannot be fully recognised. The Lisbon strategies goals are increasingly relevent, even more so than when it was first initiated, and the contribution which ScanBalt has already made should be built on and encouraged.
To read the full press release click here.
To learn more about the Lisbon strategy click here.