Cabinet ‘too vague’ on Lisbon targets

Ministers have been too vague about the targets for the economy and jobs growth set down in the EU’s Lisbon strategy nine years ago, the national audit office said on Wednesday.

The strategy, drawn up in 2000, set out to turn the EU into the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world. A new Lisbon agenda is due to be established next year.
But ministers have not given MPs enough information to allow them to monitor what progress has been made until now, the report said.
And in the future, the Netherlands should see its role in that as making sure not too many targets are set and that those which are agreed are as concrete as possible. Such improvements ‘could prevent the Lisbon strategy having chiefly symbolic value,’ the report said.
Every year, the Netherlands spends €35bn on achieving Lisbon targets – primarily in terms of employment and infrastructure – but has shown limited actual commitment, the report states.
‘The government has placed existing policy measures in various areas under the banner of the Lisbon.. without considering whether achievement of the Lisbon goals in those areas requires different or additional policy from the Netherlands,’ it said.
Earlier this month, economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven said the government must look more closely at the EU targets, because of the economic crisis.

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