A Progressive Strategy for a Green, Smart and Inclusive Europe
Europe is facing many challenges: the financial and economic crisis, financial instability, global competition, high unemployment, pressure on the social security systems, ageing of the population, climate change and the degradation of the environment. Ensuring economic, social and environmental progress in all dimensions requires a common answer from the European Union and its member states. Therefore, the European Commission has proposed on March 3 the so called Europe 2020 strategy for ”smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, which is supposed to replace the Lisbon Strategy. It includes five specific targets on employment, research and development, green house gas emissions, education and poverty, which the member states ought to achieve. Furthermore, it proposes a number of concrete European “flagship initiatives”.
From the PES point of view, this strategy is absolutely insufficient to ensure sustainable growth and to improve the well being of Europe’s citizens. The social dimension is extremely weak, the challenge to completely transform our production, consumption and mobility patterns is not addressed and the importance of transforming the financial markets is not sufficiently emphasized. Furthermore, the Conservatives within the Commission and in the national governments have imposed their economic philosophy of introducing cuts to public spending, independent of negative effects on growth and employment.
Due to a weak governance structure and lack of instruments and financial means, the proposed targets and flagship initiatives will be difficult to implement. We, as PES, have made a number of proposals on how a successful strategy for a green, smart and inclusive Europe 2020 should look like. We have formulated concrete demands towards the European Commission and the national parliaments.
The PES has put forward several contributions to this debate.