Key Issues Paper 2009: Responding pro-actively to the economic downturn
Innspill vedtatt av Rådet 5.3.2009
BAKGRUNN (fra rådsdokumentet, engelsk utgave)
1. Confronted with an international financial crisis and an exceptionally strong economic downturn, the European Union and Member States are showing their determination to act in a concerted, ambitious and comprehensive manner in order to restore confidence and the growth path, as demonstrated by the European Economic Recovery Plan agreed by the European Council in December 2008. In this context, the European Union and Member States should take short-term measures in response to their specific circumstances and reflecting their different scope for action within a common and co-ordinated framework.
2. The short-term measures should improve the economic conditions for business and should also be in line with the medium- and long-term objectives of the Lisbon Strategy. These measures should also contribute to the creation of more jobs. The Council broadly welcomes the Lisbon Package submitted by the European Commission. In this respect, the Community Lisbon Programme is welcomed as a valuable tool. In the annex to the present document, the Council (Competitiveness and ECOFIN) presents its views on the Commission’s Implementation Report for the Community Lisbon Programme 2008-2010.
3. In a manner that is coherent with our long-term goal to achieve sustainable growth and jobs, concrete measures need to be undertaken in order to stave off the threat of persisting recession and for the EU economy to emerge stronger and more competitive from the current downturn. Rapid and determined actions are needed, in particular on the following five axes: removing barriers and achieving a fully operational and modern internal market, reducing administrative burdens, improving framework conditions for industry with special focus on SMEs and innovation, stepping up and improving the quality of investment into knowledge, education and research, and focussing on the external dimension of competitiveness.
4. A clear commitment in the spirit of joint ownership to continue implementing Lisbon structural reforms beyond 2010 is necessary in order to boost confidence among citizens and businesses. Achieving sustainable growth and jobs should remain the central objective for the renewed strategy as currently being assessed by the National Lisbon Coordinators as a contribution to an assessment of the strategy. The micro-economic elements of the Lisbon Strategy need to be brought closely together in a well-defined “Competitiveness Agenda” that would be complementary and mutually reinforcing with other aspects of the Strategy. While strengthening the overall partnership approach, governance of the process should be streamlined, the reporting burden for Member States should be kept as lean as possible and a limited number of concrete "smart" (i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed) targets should be set following careful analysis and taking into account the diversity of Member States. The identification and promotion of "best practices" among Member States should be enhanced. Communication with stakeholders and citizens should also be improved in order to stimulate public debate in Europe and to explain EU reforms, policies and measures.