Today, the Competitiveness Council has welcomed the Commission's “growth and jobs” communication to the Spring European Council, recommending to focus on growth and jobs through fewer and clearer priorities, which need to be identified and limited to a number of core areas, implemented through sharper policy instruments. The Competitiveness Council underlined that it had a key role to play in driving the new initiatives and structural reforms necessary to meet the Lisbon goals, by contributing to conditions which foster investment, innovation and greater competition, throughout the European Union. The Competitiveness Council also recognised the importance of sustainable development as an overarching principle of all policies. In order to achieve sustainable development, the EU should give priority to growth and jobs through improved competitiveness. Ministers underlined that it is essential that the EU, Member States, Parliaments, and stakeholders take clear ownership and decisive action at their respective levels.
Welcoming today’s Council conclusions, Vice-President Günter Verheugen said “The broad support for the Commission’s “partnership for growth and jobs” is highly encouraging. Ministers share the Commission’s vision: We need a new, focussed partnership with member states, concrete national action plans, less red tape and more innovation and research. I am optimistic that the Heads of State will be able to endorse the Commission’s strategy at this month’s Summit and we can get down to work and do our part to create more growth and jobs in the EU.”
The Competitiveness Council committed itself to implementing the following actions:
* harnessing knowledge and innovation for growth by the realisation of the European Research Area and the Barcelona target and by the forthcoming 7th Framework Programme and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme in order to increase and improve public and private investment in R&D, to optimise Europe’s human capital and to promote and invest in new technologies and technology transfer throughout Europe.
* making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work by extending and deepening the internal market, in particular for services, improving European and national regulation, ensuring open and competitive markets, reinforcing the industrial base, promoting infrastructure development through the realisation of TEN priority projects, supporting SMEs and promoting entrepreneurship.
* pursuing actively the mandate from the European Council to ensure economic reform and the application of an integrated approach to competitiveness, by taking the necessary legislative action on the key priorities, and by driving forward the microeconomic and structural reform process on the basis of the EU Annual Progress/Strategic Report and by contributing to the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs).
More information on the Commission’s “partnership for growth and jobs”: