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More Lisbon Strategy review: education and research goal posts still far off

‘The Lisbon Strategy is working’. This was the declaration of European Commission president Barroso this month echoing the conclusions of the Commission’s Strategic Report on economic reform across Europe. Successes such as the 3% economic growth rate of the EU 27 for 2006, the falling rate of unemployment, the creation of 6.5 million new jobs in 2007 and the significantly reduced EU budget deficit were all cited. Further, the EU is predicted to invest  2.6% of GDP in research spending by 2010, a strong movement toward the goal of 3%. However, the report warns that some member states have performed better than others on the Lisbon goals and proposes a series of new actions to keep the Lisbon momentum alive, many of which coincide with the European education agenda:

  • member states are to draw up action plans to reduce early school leaving and improve basic reading skills;
  • an integrated policy to foster the growth of SMEs is to be developed;
  • the ‘fifth’ freedom, the freedom of ‘movement of knowledge’ is to be enhanced by developing a single affordable patent for the European Research Area and by ensuring that all schools are connected to the internet by 2010.

The Commission has taken a positive tone in evaluating Lisbon Strategy progress to this point. However, Press release