Prodi calls for clear decisions on European Initiative for Growth On 1 October the European Commission published its recommendations for implementing the European Initiative for Growth, prompting Commission President Romano Prodi to demand a 'clear agreement' on the proposals from EU heads of state and government. Mr Prodi also called for a... On 1 October the European Commission published its recommendations for implementing the European Initiative for Growth, prompting Commission President Romano Prodi to demand a 'clear agreement' on the proposals from EU heads of state and government. Mr Prodi also called for a commitment from the Council and European Parliament to reach decisions on key issues covered by the initiative in early 2004. 'What is needed today is further commitment and pressure from the heads of state and governments to push through certain key reforms. What we are proposing today is a road map for action with specific deadlines for the council and European Parliament,' said Mr Prodi. Unlike previous attempts to promote EU growth, the new initiative represents an integrated approach of policies, delivery mechanisms and institutional arrangements designed to achieve implementation within a tight time period, the Commission said. The so called 'road map' of proposals is grouped under four headings. With regard to policies, the Commission would like to see the Council and the European Parliament reach decisions on proposals already submitted in the areas of trans-European networks (TENs), research and development (R&D) and innovation. Member States are also asked to move fast to benchmark their research and innovation activities and prepare mutually consistent measures to reach the three per cent Barcelona target. Under the second heading, funding, the Commission says that resources for the Sixth Framework Programme should be focussed towards projects central to the European Initiative for Growth. Furthermore, Member States should make a more efficient and effective use of the 600 million euro per year TEN budget. The Commission proposes that the proportion of the TEN budget that is channelled towards priority projects should be raised from 10 to 30 per cent. Member States are the focus of the third group of proposals. EU countries should reallocate expenditure to growth enhancing investment in knowledge and physical and human capital, without jeopardising their obligations under the Stability and Growth Pact. Finally, the Commission provides for follow up activities which include further policy proposals in the areas of R&D and innovation, and updated rules on State aid procedures for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Underlining the message that these proposals are intended to prompt action rather than further policy discussion, Mr Prodi concluded that 'If we continue to take seriously our commitment to turn the European Union into the most competitive, knowledge based economy in the world by 2010, we cannot waste a single month waiting for a miracle to happen.'