Sunday 9 October 2011

EU2020 growth reforms Denmark: Policy outcomes

How does the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (EU2020) turn into reality in the EU member states? Indeed, after the failed Lisbon strategy we need to ask: Does it?

At least, through common statistics, shared goals and constant contact the European Union offers politicians and officials the opportunity to learn from the best.

Within the framework of the European semester, each member state submitted its macroeconomic stability or convergence programme according to the stability and growth pact (SGP), as well as its national reform programme (NRP) for structural reforms enhancing competitiveness and growth.

Denmark – of flexicurity fame – is one of the most competitive, innovative, inclusive - over all successful EU economies and societies.

Even if Denmark is also known for public expenditure above 50 per cent of GDP and correspondingly high taxes, the Nordic country is a reform model worth studying and learning from, if we want growth and jobs (a high employment rate) in Europe.

Before we turn to the national reform programme and policies, we need to get acquainted with Denmark.

Denmark in a nutshell

The OECD Government at a Glance 2011 offers us an astonishing amount of economic and administrative information on just four pages. I want you to give them careful thought:

Country note Denmark (24 June 2011)

The OECD Better Life Index for Denmark links to additional information concerning eleven policy areas (topics): housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance. Which Better Life Index policy outcomes do you find most desirable, most worthy of emulation?

Ralf Grahn


  1. While Denmark is a very interesting example of successful economic development with a strong welfare state (and a good counter-argument to neoliberals), why should we assume this has anything to do with "Europe 2020"?

    "Europe 2020" is a slogan. It has neither a budget nor strong enforcement capabilities. Its targets merely express the lowest-common-denominator: a mix of the aspirational-without-means and what-was-going-to-happen-anyway given existing trends in Europe.

    While it's good to compare European countries to see how they succeed or fail (for which the EU among others can provide good data), the EU should not take credit (or blame) for success/failure of its supposed "strategy" in individual countries.

  2. CJWilly,

    I hope I did not paint Denmark's competitive economy and society as results from the EU2020 strategy.

    My intention, at least, was to present an interesting country which could and should inspire some of the less competitive member states.

    The individual countries fail (as a few of them have spectacularly done) at the national level, but aims, data, contacts, comaprisons etc. at the EU level offer opportunities for learning and for progress.


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