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Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs

20 January 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 21 January 2010

Before the financial and economic crisis hit the EU, the Lisbon strategy had helped create more than 18m new jobs. When the economy slumped, the EU acted to stabilise the financial system and adopted a recovery plan to boost demand and restore confidence. The plan is delivering a major fiscal stimulus, with measures to keep people in work and public investment in infrastructure, innovation, new skills for the workforce, energy efficiency and clean technologies to meet the goals of the Lisbon strategy.


As a “partnership for growth and jobs” between the EU and its member countries, the Lisbon strategy sets out the general thrust for reforms and sets the objectives and priorities for action.

Individual governments then set up national reform programmes that take account of their specific situation. Reforms cover areas such as public finance, education, research and development, the business environment and labour markets. The EU monitors each country’s progress and makes further recommendations if necessary.

EU countries receive €350 bn from the EU structural funds to help them implement these reforms. A further €50 bn is channelled into research and development projects.

Economic recovery

In 2008, the EU adopted a plan to stimulate recovery from the economic and financial crisis. The plan injected €200 bn into the economy – €170 bn from national budgets and €30bn from EU funds and the European Investment Bank. The aim is to stimulate demand and boost confidence in the short term while at the same time making the EU economy greener and more innovative by funding investments in skills, infrastructure, and environment-friendly technologies.After 2010, an amended Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs will focus on overcoming the recession and transforming the EU into a more sustainable, greener and more innovative economy.

Taking stock

The strategy has been successful in ensuring that key reforms in all EU member countries all push in the same direction. Over the last four years, climate change, innovation, research and development, and education have been high on the agenda in every country, which has helped create jobs and encourage growth.

But implementation of the reforms has been uneven – less effective in some countries and sections of the economy than in others. More tangible results are needed on the ground.

Looking to the future

The EU will soon revise the growth and jobs strategy for the period after 2010. By implementing more reforms at grassroots level, the new strategy will help the EU to overcome the recession and to move towards a low-carbon, knowledge-based society. To make this transformation happen, Europe needs a common agenda: the EU 2020 strategy.

A consultation paper on the future EU 2020 strategy

Source: European Commission

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