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Home Publications Economic Reform in Europe: Priorities for the next five years
Economic Reform in Europe: Priorities for the next five years

Economic Reform in Europe: Priorities for the next five years

Maria João Rodrigues & Roger Liddle (eds)

10 November 2004

The booklet published by Policy Network sets out an economic and social agenda for the incoming Barroso Commission. It contains eight diverse and individual essays on the reform challenges that the EU faces arising from the deliberations of a distinguished Policy Network working group that met several times earlier this year. It parallels the Mid Term Review of the Lisbon Strategy chaired by Wim Kok, the former Dutch Prime Minister which was published last week.

Maria João Rodrigues was the Portuguese Sherpa who formulated and drove through the originating Lisbon concept at the European Council in March 2000 chaired by the then Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Guterres. Roger Liddle has been European Advisor to British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for the past 7 years and is about to join the 'cabinet' of Britain’s new European Commissioner, Peter Mandelson.

In the booklet, both co-editors present proposals as to how the political commitment to deliver on Lisbon can be raised.  Liddle stresses the leadership role of the Commission, in particular in acting within the areas of EU competence on the Single Market, regulation and competition. Rodrigues sets out ideas for achieving better buy-in from Member States and civil society.

Liddle argues:

“The Commission needs to re-establish its own credibility by tracking a more vigorous lead on the economic reform responsibilities that are centrally its own.”

Rodrigues argues:

“The mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy should be understood as a key opportunity to take stock, update and improve this European agenda, focusing on clear priorities of policy.”

The booklet also canvasses ideas that go wider than the more narrowly focussed and consensual Kok report. These are non-prescriptive and in some case controversial within the Policy Network group itself. They are intended to foster a debate that sets the open market, economically liberal thrust of the Lisbon strategy, around which most experts of both Left and Right cohere, within a broader progressive context. The essays in this volume debate, inter alia:

- the need to respect the strength of the European model and a rejection of the view that the remedy for any European underperformance is to become more like the United States (John Kay)

- the importance of a supportive and more cohesive macro-economic policy to underpin structural reform (Jean Pisani-Ferry)

- the risks that rising economic nationalism in the EU is poses for growth and political stability among the new Members (Alan Mayhew)

- the merits of the concept of a 'civil economy' as the keystone of an agenda of corporate reform as an alternative to adoption of the discredited “American Business Model” (Stephen Davis and David Pitt-Watson)

- the need for a strategy for 'activating knowledge' which acknowledges the complementary roles of public and private R&D, rather than imaging that private sector R&D will entirely take responsibility for closing Europe's research deficit (Luc Soete)

- an agenda for the recalibration of the European welfare state towards meeting new social needs, to achieve greater distributive justice between the generations and to tackle inherited social disadvantage (Maurizio Ferrera).

The pamphlet can be purchased online at Politico's bookstore.

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