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The completion of the internal market, economic and monetary union, the successful launch of the euro, and the provision of structural aid have all helped the European Union (EU) to achieve greater convergence and higher growth and stability in recent years. However, further effort is still needed in order to tackle some persisting problems. Progress on economic reform is still slow, as is the creation of new jobs, and the number of economic and social disparities between Europe�s regions remains unacceptably high. Like every other global region, the EU has to respond to a paradigm shift in the sources of economic development, which is being driven by globalisation and the new knowledge-based economy.
This requires the modernisation and diversification of the economy as well as new forms of governance, including better institutional capabilities. It also means the creation of more and better business opportunities, the adaptation of employment strategies and education and social security systems, and a greater focus on sustainable growth and innovation-driven economic development. With the likelihood of 25 Member States in 2004, and a considerable widening of regional disparities, the need to better coordinate and address regional competitiveness, sustainable development and cohesion gaps is even more pronounced.

Additional information

Authors: No authors stated, European Commission, DG Regional Policy, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2003, 57 pp, free of charge
Availability: EUR-OP reference: KI-53-03-863-EN-C Available from European Commission DG Regional Policy B-1049 Bruxelles Tel: +32 2 296 06 34 Fax: +32 2 296 60 03 E-mail:
ISBN: ISBN 92-894-6007-5
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