Embargo: 11:00 Thursday 16th March 2006
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659
LORDS HIGHLIGHT POOR PERFORMANCE OF MAJOR EUROPEAN ECONOMIES AND CALL FOR MORE ACTION TO DRIVE FORWARD THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY FOR GROWTH AND JOBS
Following the severe warning given to finance ministers on Tuesday that Europe's flagship economic reform agenda is headed for failure, a report published today by the House of Lords European Union Committee analyses Europe's Lisbon Agenda following its relaunch in 2005. It concludes that whilst narrowing the focus of the Agenda to the core economic priorities of better growth and more jobs was a good move, further progress on implementation is urgently needed.
Commenting Lord Radice, Chairman of the Committee said:
"We share the concerns raised with Europe's finance ministers over the failure of the Lisbon Strategy because improving Europe's economic growth, increasing the number of jobs available and above all improving European competitiveness is vital in the face of increasing global competition.
"We are concerned to see the recent worrying signs of economic protectionism in some Member States. We urge the European Commission to use the legal tools available to it to prevent countries from erecting barriers to cross-border mergers".
To drive forward growth and jobs, the Committee recommends that:
The system of peer pressure and sharing of best practice between Europe's nations should be strengthened as the main responsibility for economic reforms lies with national governments.
More should be done to present economic performance in a comparable and open fashion including agreeing to use a common system of statistics.
Further economic targets should be set to help assessment of Member States' performances.
A template for the annual National Action Plans should be agreed requiring Member States to address the areas in which they have underperformed, as well as those in which they have performed well.
The completion of the internal market is essential to achieve faster growth and more jobs.
Efforts should be made to communicate the goals of the Lisbon Agenda more effectively to Europe's citizens.
The Committee criticises the Government for the back door way in which this year's Lisbon National Action Plan was published and recommends that the Chancellor makes clear his role in coordinating the UK's policies in support of the Agenda.
Notes to Editors
1. The Members of the Committee who conducted the inquiry were:
Lord Radice (Chairman)
Lord Kerr of Kinlochard
2. The report is published by The Stationery Office,
A European Strategy for Jobs and Growth, House of Lords, EU Sub-Committee A (Economic and Financial Affairs), 28th Report of 2005/06, HL paper 137, ISBN 010 400831 8, Price £30.00
3. The full report will available shortly after publication on the internet at:
For copies of the report or to request an interview with Lord Radice on Thursday 16th please contact Owen Williams Lords Committee Press Officer on 020 7219 8659.