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EU leaders to manage 2020 growth strategy: Spanish presidency

14 January 2010, 17:32 CET
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(LA GRANJA) - The European Union's 2020 Strategy of reform and revived economic growth will be managed at the highest levels of the bloc, the Spanish EU presidency said Thursday.

There is a "consensus among member countries" that the plan "be managed at the highest level, by the European Council, in close collaboration with the Commission and the presidency of the Council," Spain's Secretary of State for European Affairs Diego Lopez Garrido said.

The 2020 Strategy is aimed at replacing the bloc's long-term growth plan known as the Lisbon Agenda which was supposed to make it the world's most competitive economy by 2010 but never achieved its aims.

The new plan is to be discussed at a February 11 EU summit in Brussels.

"The Lisbon Agenda lacked any follow-up mechanism and leadership at a European level," said Lopez Garrido.

EU member countries have also agreed to put in place "stimulus measures so that the aims (of the 2020 plan) are fulfilled," he told reporters following an informal meeting of European affairs ministers in La Granja, outside Madrid.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last week suggested the 2020 plan include "corrective measures" for those who fail to meet binding targets, drawing swift criticism from Germany and a rollback from Madrid.

Lopez Garrido Thursday reiterated that Spain hoped the plan would have "positive stimuli" so that Europe can emerge from the crisis with "sustainable growth and quality employment."

He said the aims of the strategy have not yet been defined but they should be "simple, intelligible, realistic and attainable with sufficient flexibility to adapt to different countries."

The 27 ministers in La Granja also agreed on a "road map" for the adoption of this "2020 Strategy" by the middle of the year, the minister said.

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