Thursday, 27 November 2008

EU Lisbon Strategy: National Reform Programmes 2008

The EU member states have prepared new National Reform Programmes (NRPs) in the context of the relaunched Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs. The Employment page I first looked at when writing the previous blog post was not fully up to date, but the Commission has another web page dedicated to these instruments for economic reform and peer review. NRPs may be available in the national language(s) before the translations are published.

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Commission web page

Under the theme of Growth and Jobs, the European Commission offers links to the updated National Reform Programmes on the web page Action plans and updated National Reform Programmes (2008–2010). Most of the new documents are from October 2008:

http://ec.europa.eu/growthandjobs/national-dimension/member-states-2008-2010-reports/index_en.htm

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Updated National Reform Programmes 2008–2010

The NPRs are usually available in the national language(s), but I looked primarily for English translations which facilitate multilateral learning within the EU framework.

With the help of the Commission web page I found updated NRPs in English from the following EU member states: Austria (47 pages), Bulgaria (28 pages, plus Action Plan 37 pages), the Czech Republic (85 pages), Denmark (117 pages), Estonia (115 pages), Finland (117 pages), France (75 pages), Germany (76 pages), Greece (88 pages), Hungary (169 pages), Ireland (97 pages), Latvia (137 pages), Lithuania (67 pages), Malta (101 pages), Portugal (343 pages), Romania (Report 160 pages plus Action Plan 15 pages), Slovakia (46 pages), Slovenia (130 pages), Spain (225 pages), the Netherlands (76 pages), Sweden (128 pages) and the United Kingdom (44 pages).


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Belgium

Although the Commission web page had links to the French and Dutch versions of the NPR of Belgium, and English translation is available.

Belgium’s Lisbon Strategy National Reform Programme 2008–2010 (October 2008; 142 pages) is available at:

http://www.be2010.eu/admin/uploaded/200811051451510.NRP2008_ENweb.pdf

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Other languages

German: Of the more commonly used EU languages, both Austria’s and Germany’s NPRs are naturally available in German.


In Italian: The NPR of Italy (98 pages) seems to be available only in Italian.

French: The Luxembourg (67 pages) seems to be available only in French. Naturally, Belgium and France present French versions.

Dutch: Both Belgium and the Netherlands have NPRs in Dutch.

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Quantity and quality?

The programmes follow common basic patterns, but the weighting between reporting elements and plans for new reforms vary. The number of pages is not an indication of quality of actions taken or planned, but a quantitative measure of the formidable reading task ahead of Community and ministry officials, who want to mine the documents for good ideas.

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Missing National Reform Programmes?

I failed to find updated NPRs from Cyprus and from Poland.

Perhaps one of our readers has additional information.

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Open coordination

The Lisbon Strategy (including the employment aims) is an example of the open method of coordination. The intensive contacts within the European Union make it into the world’s largest learning organisation.

Hopefully, this bodes better for the second half of the Lisbon Strategy and for the post-Lisbon reform strategy, than it did during the first five years from 2000.


Ralf Grahn