Thursday, 1 March 2012

European Council and the quest for growth

Some additions have been made to the materials ahead of the European Council 1-2 March 2012, since I described the sewing circle level of governance and pointed at the synthesis report about the implementation of the European Semester.

There is now a fairly meagre background note about the EUCO spring meeting. The invitation letter from president Herman Van Rompuy to the heads of state or government has also appeared, but his thoughts on reforms have not.

A plan for growth in Europe

If we go outside EUCO central, we find some interesting input. Twelve national leaders wrote to Van Rompuy and the Commission president José Manuel Barroso with A plan for growth in Europe (20 February 2012), listing eight priority areas for economic growth and job creation.

This year Barroso, who may have noticed the information vacuum preceding the spring summit, has been busy proselytising the Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020) for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as related Commission initiatives. He also replied to the EUCO members by a flowery letter (MEMO/12/146), but the birth of pre-summit discussion between the leaders is a small sign of improvement.

The Annex: Overview of state of play on initiatives referred to in the letter 'A Plan for Growth in Europe' offers a factual and useful check-list against the letter of ongoing reform projects aiming at economic growth. Let us lift the eight main headlines from the Barroso Annex:

1. Single Market
2. Digital Single Market
3. Energy
4. Innovation
5. External dimension of growth
6. Reduction of administrative burden
7. Employment
8. Financial sector legislation

Are the leaders prepared to achieve a seamless Single Market, a borderless Digital Single Market and all the rest, or is Europe turning into the new Atlantis?

Ralf Grahn
speaker on EU affairs, especially digital policy and law

P.S. For better or for worse, between the global issues and the national level, the European Union institutions and the eurozone coteries shape our future. At the same time we see a European online public sphere emerging. Grahnlaw, Grahnblawg (in Swedish) and Eurooppaoikeus (in Finnish) are among the more than 900 euroblogs aggregated by multilingual Is your blog already listed among them? Are you following the debates which matter for your future?