Friday, 17 June 2011

Europe 2020: Smart growth without intelligent debate?

The Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020) aims at smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Naturally, the seven flagship initiatives of the European Commission are mutually reinforcing, but especially the Digital Agenda, the Innovation Union and the Youth on the Move initiatives are intended to promote the ideal of smart growth.

Is it sufficient if a few officials from each country are actively engaged?

No, for real progress the political spheres and the administrations from central down to local level, the media, the interest groups and the general public in the EU member states have to start showing more than desultory interest in the findings and recommendations at the European level.

Without intensive and intelligent national debate and efforts, little smart growth will materialise.

Or is Europe senescent beyond caring?

Could and should the EU blogosphere do something to awaken the semi-dead?

Ralf Grahn


  1. To the extent that the EU bloggosphere could be part of a grass roots movement for political union, yes.

    As I commented in your other blog, EU2020 focuses too much on formal R&D re innovation. Plus no matter how smart, growth cannot be achieved when Euro is 1.5 USD.

    Finally, how strategic is EU2020 strategy?

  2. I don't think it's the task of the blogosphere to raise interest in something some politician-administrators have invented just to make it sound like there were actually changing something…

  3. nickp,

    Thank you for your comment.

    We agree on the need for political union to face the challenges.

    Perhaps what you call 'formal R&D' flows from the fact that politicians and the public sector generally can influence directly only what is done through public funds and organisations.

    However, the Commission (Innovation Union) clearly calls for EU enterprises to step up innovation efforts.

    Devaluation of the euro would be an instant measure to move closer to Chinese wages, but is this the road we have to go?

    I am not sure if I catch what you mean by questioning the strategic-ness of the EU2020 strategy, but I see it as an important part of a broader framework: the integrated guidelines (macroeconomic and growth-enhancing reforms, the European Semester and the Euro Plus Pact).

  4. Ron,

    Aren't you being a bit harsh, here?

    As I see it, the macroeconomic and growth strategies of the EU deserve more interest and discussion all around Europe, if we want jobs, public services and pensions in the future.

    Naturally, discussion entails the possibility to try to improve on the programmes and guidelines we have.

    This is actually the main idea behind wanting to take the discussion beyond the Brussels play-pen.


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