||Lisbon strategy: is the ES still competing with the United States?|
Darius Varanavièius, political scientist, executive editor of the magazine "The State"
2007 02 02
After the new enlargement of the EU, stories on the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy goals have ceased, since with the lagging behind Bulgaria and Romania for the EU it will be even more difficult to realize its major strategy goal - to overtake the United States in economic competition. We must not also forget, that the member states newly accepted to the EU in 2004, are not „economic giants“ as well.
One of the major goals of the Lisbon Strategy is to create favorable conditions for promotion of entrepreneurship. While comparing the United States and the EU, it becomes obvious that there are more people in the United States engaged in independent businesses because there the risk is acceptable and bankruptcy is not a crucial factor. The States have a higher circulation of the established and closed companies, and volumes of businesses as well as numbers of vacancies are growing faster than in the EU.
The European Commission‘s Green Gook highlights the elimination of administrative obstacles in terms of establishment of companies, reduction of taxes for personal companies, simplification of business environment and improvement of financial opportunities etc. According to the European Commission, the movement towards the entrepreneur society should be based on reduction of obstacles to business, the balance between the risk and business remuneration and strengthening of a positive approach of society towards business. This is in line with the objective stipulated in the Lisbon Strategy on the establishment of a favorable environment for business and encouragement of development of small and medium businesses.
Quite a lot of attention in the above Strategy is given to employment. In due time the EU declared the objective to reach, by 2010, a 70% employment rate. The appropriate policy for the enhancement of employment should provide simplified conditions for entrance into the market, as well as mobility between different professions and geographic areas. This should be pursued in accordance to the market needs rather than political interests of separate countries. Consolidation of conditions for more flexible labor relations could substantially contribute to the increase of employment rate in the EU.
One of the major motives to adopt the Lisbon Strategy, was the aspiration to give an impulse to the economy of the EU lacking behind the United States, and to approximate measures of economic policy between the EU Member States. However, the reality showed that political appetite in the current EU overshadowed economic intentions. Maybe this is in contradiction with the Lithuanian interests, however, the recent two waves of he EU enlargement, and the decision to start negotiations on Turkey‘s membership in the EU by leaving Ukraine out of the way, had obvious political implications. This means, that geopolitical strategy rather than economic, predominates in the EU. Its can be justified by an argument that huge efforts in terms of adoption of Constitution of the EU, which should have made the EU a uniform political platform, coincided with drawing away from the Lisbon Strategy as if acknowledging that it is impossible to achieve the defined objectives during a specified term.
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