The Lisbon Strategy: a Tool for Economic and Social Reforms in the Enlarged European Union
This paper evaluates achievements and shortcomings of the Lisbon Strategy launched by the European Union in the spring of 2000 aiming to increase the competitiveness of the European economy within ten years. A careful examination of the Strategy’s pros and cons shows that its general rationale was sound and helpful despite an incorrect and naive political call to economically outperform the rest of the world in such period. The main priorities of the Strategy: promoting growth through creating more and better jobs and developing the knowledge base of the economy, remain valid for today and for the future. However, it has to be underlined that implementing desired changes requires time. At the moment, it is crucial to accomplish structural reforms, which have significant impact on job creation, business performance and growth. Among them, it is essential to complete the Single Market, still limited by many administrative barriers.
The paper shows main areas of necessary improvements to be undertaken by the Community and the member states. To strengthen real ownership of the Lisbon process, politicians must change their thinking from short-term and national to long-term and beneficial for the entire Community. Only such committed leadership can persuade the citizens to support the reforms, aiming to build a common European public good. Exploring these ideas would be a desirable return to the basic concept of the European Community, shaped by its founding fathers short after the World War II.