“Complacency would be fatal to Europe’s prospects of shaping globalisation. Much more remains to do. Progress is uneven between policy areas and some Member States are moving much faster than others. Today’s package responds to the need for Europe to act to face up to growing uncertainties in the global economy. And to the need for an even higher priority for the social dimension, education and skills, information and communication technologies, flexicurity, energy and climate change.”
Het tussenstandrapport over de realisatie van de Lissabonstrategie laat dan ook nog een flink aantal punten van investering en beleidsversterking zien. Voor Nederland wordt aangedrongen op “stepping up efforts aimed at increasing private sector R&D expenditure by avoiding fragmented policy governance structures and putting in place a coherent strategy for R&D and innovation which addresses the interaction between private R&D and public research as well as foreign R&D investment.”
“Europe is still lagging behind other leading economies in investment in information and communication technologies and in their use to enhance productivity. Many Member States are not on course to fulfil their Kyoto targets and will need to make a major effort to reach the ambitious.
On investing in people and modernising labour markets, the Report calls on Member States to draw up action plans and set targets to substantially reduce early-school leaving and improve basic reading skills.
As far as the business environment is concerned, the Report calls for an integrated policy approach through a European Small Business Act, to foster the development and growth of the millions of SMEs which create nine out of ten new jobs.
On knowledge (education, R&D and innovation), the Report proposes steps towards the “fifth freedom” – the free movement of knowledge – through the creation of a genuine European Research Area and an integrated patent jurisdiction with a single affordable patent. It calls on Member States to draw up national broadband strategies and set national targets for high-speed internet usage aiming at a 30% connection rate of the EU population and connection of all schools by 2010.
On energy and climate change, the Report emphasizes the importance of completing the internal market for energy and calls on Member States to set mandatory energy reduction targets for government buildings and systematically include energy efficiency as the one of the award criteria for public procurement.
The package includes as usual “country chapters” assessing progress made by each Member State (and the euro area). Member States have continued to make progress, at differing rates. In most cases, steps have been taken towards meeting the commitments contained in the country specific recommendations agreed collectively by the Member States last year. However, more remains to be done and most of these recommendations remain in place.
In the light of the 2007 Dutch Implementation Report and the Commission’s assessment of progress made in implementing key structural reforms and based on the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs, the following conclusions are appropriate:
–The Netherlands has made significant progress in implementing its National Reform Programme over the 2005-2007 period. The Netherlands has shown a good response to fulfilling the commitments agreed by the 2006 Spring European Council in the four priority action areas.
— The Implementation Report shows some policy response to the recommendation adopted by the Council. There has been a limited policy response on the additional areas identified in the Council conclusions as requiring attention. The Implementation Report also specifically addresses the recommendations issued to the euro area countries.
–Among the strengths of the National Reform Programme and its implementation are: the efforts to reduce administrative burden and to improve the business climate; the ambitious plans in the area of energy and climate change; and incentives to improve childcare provision.
–The policy area in the Dutch National Reform Programme where challenges need to be tackled with the highest priority is in improving labour supply. Against this background it is recommended that the Netherlands take further measures to improve labour supply of women, older workers and disadvantaged groups with a view to raising overall hours worked in the economy.
–In addition, it will be important for the Netherlands over the period of the National Reform Programme to focus on the following challenges: stepping up efforts aimed at increasing private sector R&D expenditure by avoiding fragmented policy governance structures and putting in place a coherent strategy for R&D and innovation which addresses the interaction between private R&D and public research as well as foreign R&D investment.