22nd Oct 2020

Crucial economic report arouses mixed reactions

  • More urgency is required to catch up economically with the US, said EU leaders on Friday (Photo: European Commission)

EU leaders have called for urgent action in the wake of a damning economic report although some have criticised its proposals.

The report - drafted by former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok - warned that the EU threatened to "seriously miss" its target of becoming the "most competitive economy in the world by 2010" and called for countries holding up progress to be "named and shamed".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende praised the report as an "excellent contribution" and said, "we have to get going. We have to give it a sense of urgency ... we must act now to make up for lost time".

Incoming Commission President, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso also called for greater effort at implementing reform to increase competitiveness, saying, "We will need to refocus priorities, measure progress and assume greater responsibility for following them through".

Political suicide

But other leaders were less welcoming. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is said to have described the idea of "naming and shaming" as "political suicide".

And Austrian leader Wolfgang Schüssel was also dismissive of this aspect of the report saying that it would be better if the EU compared itself as a whole to countries like India, the US and China.

Some thought a name change might help. The President of the European Parliament, Spanish Socialist Josep Borrell criticised the fact that no one understood the name Lisbon Agenda - the name given to the EU's 2010 economic goals.

He suggested that citizens would understand the aim better if it went by the name of "the strategy for competitiveness, social cohesion and the environment".

Germany asks capitals to give a little in EU budget impasse

European Parliament negotiators are demanding €39bn in new funding for EU programmes such as Horizon research and Erasmus, in talks with the German EU presidency on the budget. Meanwhile, rule-of-law enforcement negotiations have only just begun.

EU budget talks suspended in fight for new funds

MEPs are requesting additional, new funding of €39bn for 15 EU programs. The German presidency argues that budget ceilings, agreed by EU leaders at a marathon summit in July, will be impossible to change without a new leaders' meeting.

EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link

Divisions among EU governments remain between those who want to suspend EU funds if rule of law is not respected, and those who want to narrow down conditionality.

MEPs warn of 'significant gaps' in budget talks

The budget committee chair said the European Parliament expects tangible improvements to the package in its talks with member states - while the German minister argued that the EU leaders' deal was difficult enough.

Top EU officials urge MEPs give quick budget-deal approval

MEPs criticised the EU deal on the budget and recovery package clinched by leaders after five days of gruelling talks, saying it is not enough "future-oriented", and cuts too deeply into EU policies, including health, innovation, defence and humanitarian aid

News in Brief

  1. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  2. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19
  3. MEPs restrict CAP funding for bullfighting
  4. Coronavirus: Liège is 'the Lombardy of the second wave'
  5. UK to keep out EU nationals with criminal past
  6. Report: EU to restrict travel from Canada, Tunisia, Georgia
  7. Pope Francis supports same-sex civil unions
  8. EU Commission to increase use of open-source software

EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link

Divisions among EU governments remain between those who want to suspend EU funds if rule of law is not respected, and those who want to narrow down conditionality.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  2. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  3. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups
  4. France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder
  5. All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter
  6. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  7. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  8. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us