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The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010

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The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010

The Commission intends to strengthen the Community Lisbon Programme (CLP) and is proposing ten objectives for the period 2008-2010. In order to ensure optimum implementation of the CLP, it is counting on effective collaboration between the various European institutions, and on close monitoring.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 December 2007 – Proposal for a Community Lisbon Programme 2008–2010 [COM(2007) 804 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Lisbon Strategy has proved its worth. Since its relaunch in 2005, more than 6.5 million jobs have been created in Europe and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level for 25 years. Growth has also been sustained.

However, given that Europe is now confronted by a worldwide economic slowdown and must face unprecedented long-term challenges (ageing of the population, globalisation, climate change, dependence on energy imports, etc.), the second phase (2008-2010) of the Community Lisbon Programme (CLP) would appear to be crucial.

Against this backdrop, the Commission means to draw lessons from the 2005-2008 phase, particularly as regards the implementation of the strategy.

Strengthening and renewing the CLP

In order to complement the CLP, the Commission is pinpointing ten objectives which offer either genuine Community-level added value or show significant impacts on growth and jobs within the European Union (EU). The selection of the objectives is on the basis of sound economic analyses and policy priorities.

These objectives are based on the integrated guidelines and rest fully on the four priority areas of the Lisbon strategy, namely:

  • investing in people and modernising labour markets;
  • energy and climate change;
  • strengthening economic competitiveness;
  • promoting knowledge and innovation.

Investing in people and modernising labour markets

Human resources which are better adapted to the needs of labour markets are both the key to European competitiveness worldwide and the basis for more independent living. This will require:

  • a renewal of the Social Agenda;
  • improved coordination of instruments to better anticipate EU-wide labour market developments and needs;
  • greater comparability and recognition of qualifications;
  • development of a common policy on immigration, with the introduction of a "blue card" scheme for highly qualified migrants representing a first step in this direction.

Unlocking business potential, especially of SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up more than 99% of all businesses and employ 67% of the EU's total workforce. The potential for growth and jobs in SMEs is still not being fully exploited. In order to support SMEs throughout their life-cycle, the Commission plans to:

  • adopt a European Small Business Act for the benefit of small-scale enterprises;
  • undertake a specific screening of the acquis communautaire from an SME perspective and introduce exemptions from administrative requirements of EU legislation wherever possible;
  • ensure the implementation of the various European programmes to reduce administrative burdens, with the aim of a 25% reduction by 2012.

The Commission is also proposing new measures for the financial services market. In particular, it plans to implement the services Directive and, more specifically, to establish the Single Euro Payments Area. SMEs will be the first to benefit from this removal of barriers to market access, for example by being allowed to choose an EU-wide tax base.

Investing in knowledge and innovation

The Commission is introducing a new dimension: the creation of a fifth freedom on the single market – based on the three components of the knowledge triangle, i.e. research, innovation and education – for the purpose of setting up a European research area. This will require a concentration and a more effective use of R&D resources and common calls for projects. Finally, it is crucial that the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) be made operational.

The Commission is also proposing to create more favourable conditions for the financing of innovation and to improve SMEs' access to finance for new technologies. In this connection, the creation of a Community patent would not only improve the current patent litigation system but would also increase legal certainty, leading to a greater investment readiness among SMEs.

Energy and climate change

Among the objectives identified by the Commission, Nos 8 and 9 are concerned with energy policy and climate change in the context of the Community Lisbon Programme. The internal market for electricity and gas must be completed by introducing an emissions trading scheme. It is therefore crucial that legislation be passed in order to meet the EU's targets of achieving at least a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 20% renewable energy share by 2020.

In addition, industrial policy must be geared to sustainable consumption. The Commission is thus proposing to establish an internal market for environmental technologies and promote the development of European lead markets for energy-efficient technologies. To this end, Community funds must be used to develop a market in low-carbon products and technologies. The Commission also plans to review the energy taxation Directive in order that other fiscal instruments can be used to promote low-energy products.

As regards the external agenda, where the opening-up of Europe and the defence of its legitimate interests go hand in hand, bilateral negotiations with the main trading partners are the main concern of the foreign-policy element of the Community Lisbon Programme.

The Commission should also work to conclude the Doha multilateral trade negotiations. In order to make for a more coordinated approach by the EU, the Commission is proposing to introduce annual reports on countries and sectors in which barriers to trade still exist. Improving the framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights against counterfeiting is also a priority which can be achieved through more effective cooperation between customs authorities.

Implementation of the CLP

The ten priority objectives need to be closely monitored by means of annual reports. This would allow a systematic assessment of progress made, which would form the basis for the Commission's annual autumn reports. The Spring European Council must take stock and provide further direction as part of its annual overall assessment of the Lisbon Strategy on Growth and Jobs. The programme will also be subject to a mid-term review to enable any adjustments to be made to the ten priority objectives.

The Community's financial resources for improving growth and economic adjustment derive from cohesion policy programmes of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the Lifelong Learning Programme and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. It is estimated that two million additional jobs will be generated by these funds by 2015. The Communication also proposes that a close follow-up be undertaken by each of the institutions and all the Member States in order to achieve the ten objectives.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 16 December 2008 - Implementation Report for the Community Lisbon Programme 2008 – 2010 [COM(2008) 881 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. The Commission presented the first annual report on the outcomes of the Community Lisbon Programme 2008 – 2010. This report evaluates the outcomes of the first year the programme has been implemented. It proposes new objectives in-line with the priorities of the European Economic Recovery Plan and complementing the reforms being carried out by Member States.

Thus it concerns:

  • improving the skills of workers, modernising the labour market and social protection systems, according to the terms of the renewed Social Agenda. Further efforts are needed to assess the needs of the labour market, as well as to remove the regulatory constraints which act as a barrier to mobility, recognition of qualifications and access to pension and social protection systems. The Commission will make proposals for an immigration strategy, aimed at placing value on the abilities of migrants;
  • increasing the development potential of enterprises, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EU shall guarantee SMEs have access to finance and shall reduce Community administrative burdens by 25% by 2012. Enterprises will benefit from the strengthening of the single market for financial services;
  • making Europe a leading knowledge and innovation economy and society through the creation of the European Research Area, open and competitive on an international level. Also by improving conditions for innovation (finance, investment and legal certainty);
  • finalising the energy market and combating climate change. With the aim of making the energy supply secure, the EU has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. Industrial production must be aimed at achieving objectives related to energy efficiency and sustainability;
  • opening up new opportunities for trade, market access and international investment. The Community is working to conclude the Doha negotiations under the framework of the WHO, and to lead bilateral negotiations with its commercial partners. The Community promotes the improvement of international standards and regulatory cooperation, particularly with regard to combating counterfeiting.

Last updated: 23.03.2009