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The new EU Strategy for Growth and Jobs

2009/10/06

Today, I will speak at a seminar in Brussels on the future EU strategy for growth and jobs – the successor of the so-called Lisbon Strategy. Almost ten years ago, the European Union agreed on the ambition to become the world’s most competitive economy. In some respects, the approach has been successful, in some not. One basic problem has been the difficulty to monitor and evaluate the broad range of goals and means. We have now started the discussion about the future strategy. We will adopt conclusions on the new direction at the European Council in December. The new strategy will then be decided during the Spanish Presidency in March next year.

It is important that we do not deliver “an over-decorated Christmas tree” at the end of the year. We want to focus on structural long-term measures that help to solve the two main priorities for our Presidency: the economic crisis and the climate issue. The ageing population and the consequent need to increase the labour supply is another important challenge that must be guiding for the strategy. We must also safeguard the principles of free trade within the EU, as well as with the rest of the world. Protectionist ideas are always tempting in times of economic crisis, even though we all know the benefits of cross-border trade.

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