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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 15:50 GMT
EU 'too slow' on economic reforms
By Manuela Saragosa
BBC Europe business reporter in Brussels

European car workers
Europe wants to be the driving force of the world economy
Most EU countries have failed to put in place policies aimed at making Europe the world's most competitive economy by the end of the decade, a report says.

The study, undertaken by the European Commission, sought to assess how far the EU has moved towards meeting its economic targets.

In 2000, EU leaders at a summit in Lisbon pledged the European economy would outstrip that of the US by 2010.

Their economic targets became known as the Lisbon Agenda.

But the Commission report says that, in most EU countries, the pace of economic reform has been too slow, and fulfilling the Lisbon ambitions will be difficult - if not impossible.

Revised plans

Only the UK, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands have actually followed up policy recommendations.

Among the biggest laggards, according to the report, are Greece and Italy.

The Lisbon Agenda set out to increase the number of people employed in Europe by encouraging more older people and women to stay in the workforce.

It also set out to raise the amount the private sector spends on research and development, while bringing about greater discipline over public spending and debt levels.

Combined with high environmental standards and efforts to level the playing field for businesses throughout the EU, the plan was for Europe to become the world's most dynamic economy by 2010.

Next week, the Commission will present revised proposals to meet the Lisbon goals.

Many people expect the 2010 target to be quietly dropped.

EU 'failing' on economic promises
03 Nov 04 |  Business

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