It is time we looked, however briefly, at the incomint Luxembourg Presidency and its aims. Breaking with tradition, this Presidency does not put reform of red tape at the top of its agenda, as the Dutch did and the British are going to in July.
No, folks, it is the Lisbonization or making Europe the most developed knowledge-based economy by 2010. We are, of course, half-way there in time and nowhere near any kind of an achievement in any other terms.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, set out his own vision of what the Lisbon Agenda and, indeed, the Luxembourg Presidency Agenda is to be about. We can do no better than quote EurActiv:
“Mr Asselborn explictly underlined that for his country's presidency the Lisbon reforms agenda is about more than just competitiveness. The final objective of the Lisbon agenda is the sustainable well-being of the EU's citizens. Therefore, the Luxemburg Presidency will focus on all three dimension of the Lisbon strategy: competitiveness and economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development.
Perhaps some of our readers can work out what all that waffle means. As far as we can tell indicates that Europe is not going to get as competitive as some other economies but will carry on producing endless regulations to protect the people and make their lives better in the rather forlorn hope that the selfsame people will be grateful. Perish the thought that people should decide for themselves how and in what way they wanted to lead their lives. They are not qualified to do so; they have no moral authority to do so.
The 2005 mid-term review of the EU's Lisbon agenda is likely to lead to a debate on the equality of these three dimensions. Several EU and industry leaders have recently expressed their conviction that economic growth and competitiveness are the prerequisites for social inclusion and environmental protection. Others see more synergies and opportunities between the three dimensions. The best expression of this last position came in the form of a slogan presented by the Dutch government during an informal environment council held in Maastricht in the summer: "clean, clever, competitive".”