Anyone remember the Lisbon Strategy? This was a grand European Union programme, adopted almost exactly nine years ago, to turn the EU into “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy” in the world by 2010. It set a number of specific targets, such as average annual economic growth of 3 per cent and an overall employment participation rate of 70 per cent.
Given the crisis the world economy now faces, it would be cruel and gratuitous to mock the EU’s lofty ambitions of March 2000. Suffice it to say that a new report prepared by Allianz, the German insurer, and the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based think-tank, says that Europe’s recession “is so severe that none of the countries surveyed can presently come up to the Lisbon goals”. Read more