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EU leaders push for Lisbon strategy

EU leaders underlined the need for maintaining momentum in implementing the Lisbon strategy for strengthening the employment situation in the knowledge-based economy, during the Council's two day summit in Feira to mark the conclusions of the Portuguese Presidency. The Counci...

EU leaders underlined the need for maintaining momentum in implementing the Lisbon strategy for strengthening the employment situation in the knowledge-based economy, during the Council's two day summit in Feira to mark the conclusions of the Portuguese Presidency. The Council highlighted several target areas for action, beginning with the European Commission's eEurope 2002 action plan. Member states were asked to ensure a full and timely implementation of the proposals for creating a knowledge-based society open to all, and the Commission was asked to make regular reports on their progress. The commitment made by EU Research Ministers towards developing a European research area (see CORDIS RCN: 15022) was welcomed by EU Heads of State. They were particularly enthusiastic about proposed measures to draw up criteria for benchmarking research policies and mapping scientific and technological excellence, undertaking to network national and European research programmes, and the high speed network connecting research institutes. The Commission was invited to pursue dialogue with the US authorities on establishing a broadband transatlantic link between European and US research and education centres. The importance of small firms and entrepreneurs to the health of Europe's economy was underlined by the Council, requesting the recently adopted European Charter for Small Enterprises be incorporated as part of a comprehensive enterprise policy. Progress in implementing the internal market was noted by the Council, pointing to the directive on e-commerce and agreements on harmonising certain copyright aspects, political agreements of take-over bids, credit and insurance enshrined in the financial services action plan, and the forthcoming rules on public procurement and postal liberalisation. EU Heads of State also approved the Commission's guidelines for adapting education systems for the Information Society. All EU institutions were encouraged to develop further measures to encouraging a lifelong learning strategy. The Council also announced that the institutional framework for implementing the Lisbon strategy will further be strengthened by improving coordination, especially between the Commission and Council. Responding to the conclusions, President of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, said the Lisbon Summit was one of the most successful elements of the Portuguese Presidency. 'By laying down clear guidelines in this area, the Summit generated fresh, irreversible impetus which the forthcoming French Presidency will have the task of building on. We know that it is determined to do so.

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16 June 2000