Lisbon agenda

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The Lisbon Strategy, also known as the Lisbon Agenda, is an action and development plan for the European Union. Its aim is to make the EU "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010" set against the background of productivity in the EU being below that of the USA. It was set out by the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000.

Between April and November 2004, Dutch minister Wim Kok headed up a review of the program and presented a report on the Lisbon strategy suggesting how to give new impetus to the process. One of the main conclusion of the Kok report was that "the promotion of growth and employment in Europe is the next great European project". [1]

The European Commission used this report as a basis for its proposal in February 2005 to refocus the Lisbon Agenda on actions that promote growth and jobs in a manner that is fully consistent with the objective of sustainable development. The Commission's report stated that "making growth and jobs the immediate target goes hand in hand with promoting social or environmental objectives." [2]

In its resolution on the mid-term review of the Lisbon strategy in March 2005, the European Parliament expressed its belief that "sustainable growth and employment are Europe's most pressing goals and underpin social and environmental progress" and "that well-designed social and environmental policies are themselves key elements in strengthening Europe's economic performance". [3]


Background and objectives

The Lisbon Strategy intends to deal with the low productivity and stagnation of economic growth in the EU, through the formulation of various policy initiatives to be taken by all EU member states. The broader objectives set out by the Lisbon strategy are to be attained by 2010.

It was adopted for a ten-year period in 2000 in Lisbon by the European Council. It broadly aims to "make Europe, by 2010, the most competitive and the most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world".

The Strategy

The main fields are economic, social, and environmental renewal and sustainability. The Lisbon Strategy is heavily based on the economic concepts of:

  • Innovation as the motor for economic change (based on the writings of Joseph Schumpeter)
  • The "learning economy"
  • Social and environmental renewal

Under the strategy, a stronger economy will create employment in the EU, alongside inclusive social and environmental policies, which will themselves drive economic growth even further.

An EU research group found in 2005 that current progress had been judged "unconvincing", so a reform process was introduced wherein all goals would be reviewed every three years, with assistance provided on failing items.

Key thinkers and concepts

Contemporary key thinkers on whose works the Lisbon Strategy is based and/or who were involved in its creation include Maria João Rodrigues, Christopher Freeman, Bengt-Ake Lundvall, Luc Soete, Carlota Perez, Manuel Castells, Giovanni Dosi, and Richard Nelson.

Key concepts of the Lisbon Strategy include those of the knowledge economy, innovation, techno-economic paradigms, technology governance, and the "Open Method of Coordination (OMC).

Further reading

  • Maria Joao Rodrigues (2003), European Policies for a Knowledge Economy, Edward Elgar.



Lobbying around the strategy

  • European Trade Union Confederation, (ETUC update on the Lisbon strategy)
  • Transatlantic Business Dialogue, which took part in the report for a new restart of the agenda
  • Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE/BusinessEurope)

External links