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The results of the “Lisbon agenda” – the attempt to make Europe the world’s most successful knowledge-based economy – are generally thought to have been disappointing. What steps should be taken by the European Union, and by national governments

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  1. Introduction
  2. Ambitious goals set
  3. Structural changes
  4. The Lisbon strategy of 2000: The ambitious goal
  5. Research and education
  6. Environment
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

In March 2000, the Lisbon Strategy was launched to overcome a series of weaknesses in the European economy: long-term structural unemployment, a poor employment rate, and under-development of the service sector. In an often-quoted sentence, it has therefore assigned the EU ?a new strategic goal for the next decade: to become the most competitive and most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth, with more and better and greater social cohesion?. The mid-term results published five years after the launch reveal that the focus on knowledge is right but that the sense of urgency is lacking, leaving Europe lagging behind the objectives set and behind the benchmark model of the Unites States. Moreover, Europe is also loosing ground vis-à-vis other competitors such as China and India, which have been growing at substantially higher rates. The mid-term report also declares that the social and environmental aspects of the Lisbon Agenda were no longer a priority and that instead the strategy would be revised to focus on the economic context only.
Hence, in order to keep the Lisbon strategy alive, drastic changes are necessitated, which this paper aims at presenting. Due to the word limit, only major recommendations from the literature review on the future steps to adopt are offered here. However, due to the complexity of the European situation, the focus is wider than on the sheer economic context.

[...] Finland and Sweden have results above expectations in many fields, whilst Germany and Denmark show R&D intensities comparable to the US. On the other hand, Greece, Poland and Slovakia are lagging behind in most areas. The problem of the EU is the lack of coordination between European and national authorities. Blanchard (2004) observes that the Council and European Parliament have great difficulties in adopting some key Lisbon measures, and the high number of cases against Member States for incorrect transposition or delays in implementation hampers the attainment of the Lisbon goals. [...]


[...] As for now, with labour mobility in the EU considerably lower than in the US, Europe continues to be less efficient and less competitive. Europe's ageing workforce is the key to all the problems that European labour markets face, especially given the fact that educated immigrants are not a realistic solution, as it is the case in the United States. Anna Turmann (2006) stresses that "without a raise in the employment rate, the problem of ageing will be insolvable", due namely to the increase in the share of retired persons and the pension burden. [...]


[...] Research and Development spending as such should reach of the GDP by 2010, with a balance between private and public investments, but R&D expenditures only account for of GDP in 2002 as opposed to in the US and in Japan. As Bromwich and Rymkevitch (2005) report, although the EU has a high percentage of secondary educated people, it experiences a sharp decline in its research capacity, as illustrated by the number of Nobel prizes for physics awarded to Europe or the ranking of universities which places 17 US universities among the top 20. [...]

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