Thursday

30th Mar 2017

Prodi: 'radical change' needed for EU to catch US

Commission President Romano Prodi on Tuesday (25 May) called for a "radical change" in EU economic policy if it is to succeed in its ambitious goal to overhaul the US and become the "most competitive economy in the world by 2010" - its so-called Lisbon strategy.

Speaking at a meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee, Mr Prodi said that the process is undergoing "great difficulties" and declared, "if we want the Lisbon strategy to be a success, we need to radically change European economic policy".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The US is still far ahead of the EU economically (Photo: EUobserver)

Echoing his sentiments, competition commissioner Mario Monti asked, "how can we seriously try to become the most competitive economy in the world if we do not put our money where our mouths are"?

He called for the Lisbon goals to be given a higher priority in the EU budgetary period from 2007 - 2013, known in Brussels jargon as the "financial perspectives".

"We need … to use an ugly phrase … to ‘Lisbonise’ the financial perspectives", said Mr Monti.

Strong views on Europe’s economy

Also at the meeting were representatives from the social partners - business groups and trades unions - who had strong words for the commissioners.

Giacomo Regaldo, representing businesses and employers, said that "the budgeters do not have the confidence of the business world or of consumers".

He called into question the spending proposed by the European Commission for the EU budgetary period 2007-2013, asking whether it was sufficient to boost slow growth in Europe.

And his colleague from the other side of the divide - representing trades unions and employees - was scarcely less critical.

Referring to the Lisbon strategy, Mario Sepi said, "it’s been five years now. If we don’t get going now, it will never get off the ground".

Long road to Lisbon

The beleaguered Lisbon strategy was established in 2000 - at the height of the dot-com boom - but by common consent among politicians, economists, business leaders and trades unions, has been little short of a total failure.

Growth rates in the US have consistently outstripped those in Europe and the EU falls behind America on almost every measure of competitiveness.

The blame for the failure is mainly laid at the door of member states, whose leaders make sweeping and ambitious targets but have frequently failed to deliver on their promises.

A "high-level group", chaired by former Dutch prime minister Wim Kok, has been established to look into the reasons for the failure.

The group will report to EU heads of state and government at their next meeting in June.

N/A
Commission stops German-British stock merger

The decision to block the merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse was expected, as negotiations between the parties broke down a few weeks ago.

SMEs lack support in EU financial plan

The European Commission's plan for a capital markets union is said to be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, but many could end up being left out in the cold.

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

[Updated] The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

Stolen Russian billions ended up in EU states

Illicit money flowing out of Russia ended up in almost every single EU state, an investigation has found, posing questions on the integrity of Europe’s banking systems.

News in Brief

  1. UK publishes 'Great Repeal Bill' plan to replace EU laws
  2. Scots share May's vision for Brexit deal, survey says
  3. Coalition talks leader expects Dutch government by summer
  4. EU commission allows ex-member Hill to join law firm
  5. Reuters: Greece and lenders move closer to deal
  6. Italy: Le Pen win would mean 'permanent political risk'
  7. Danish parliament misinformed on Nord Stream 1
  8. UK delivered its Article 50 letter to the EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  2. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  3. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  4. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  5. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  6. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  7. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  9. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  10. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  11. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Latest News

  1. Hungary attempts to stifle Soros-founded university in Budapest
  2. European right shows divisions on EU values after Brexit
  3. Transparency is key EU tactic in Brexit talks
  4. Russia building 'arc of iron' around Europe
  5. Französische und deutsche Wahlen 'entscheidend' für Putin
  6. EU trying to salvage US deal on data privacy
  7. MEPs draw 'red lines' on Brexit deal
  8. MEPs call for reset in relations with Belarus