Thursday 17 December 2009

A new EU 2020 strategy, really?

The conclusions of the European Council 10 to 11 December (document EUCO 6/09) stated that the time has come to evaluate the Lisbon strategy and to look ahead.

Reflection is needed on both substantive issues and the governance structure. The Commission has launched a consultation. The European Council expects to discuss an “ambitious proposal” early in 2010, including at its spring meeting.

Indeed, president Herman Van Rompuy has proposed an informal summit to be held in February (as confirmed by La Moncloa, 15 December 2009), whereas the customary date for the spring European Council is usually after the Ides of March, next year on 25 March 2010.

Before the European Council, the ECOFIN Council had approved more detailed conclusions on the Lisbon strategy post 2010 (2 December 2009).

EU 2020 Consultation paper

The European Commission has launched its consultation with the Commission Working Document: Consultation on the Future “EU 2020” Strategy, Brussels, 24.11.2009, COM(2009)647 final (13 pages).

In its consultation paper, the Commission outlines three priorities: 1) creating value through knowledge; 2) empowerment of people and inclusion; 3) a competitive, connected and green economy.

The Commission has asked for comments and suggestions by 15 January 2010. It intends to adopt a formal Communication (proposal) to the spring European Council.


The Commission’s discussion paper feels like the umpteenth update of a politician’s wish-list, with everything from green vistas to social inclusion promoting painless growth. Still, there is one major problem.

After a decade of the Lisbon strategy, the European Union and especially the member states have a wide credibility gap to bridge, if they want to regain respect.

Two decades of empty talk would be too much.

Ralf Grahn

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