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Plan D to drive European agenda and boost research?

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has adopted input from citizens, culled through the 'Plan D' initiative, as the way to move forward in Europe. Plan D - the D is for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate - went into motion in October 2005, following t...

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has adopted input from citizens, culled through the 'Plan D' initiative, as the way to move forward in Europe. Plan D - the D is for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate - went into motion in October 2005, following the 'No' votes on the European constitution in France and the Netherlands. It was designed to find out exactly what EU citizens want from the EU. The survey has identified a gap between the 'action Europe takes and the public's perception of Europe's role', according to a communication issued on 10 May. 'To regain the confidence of the public, the Commission will harness all its resources, both internally and externally, to deliver solutions to the issues raised by citizens,' it continues. Amongst a series of proposals regarding rights and freedoms of citizens lies, 'A forward looking single market review'. The communication continues: 'The Commission also calls for a further effort to be made to use the existing treaties and proposes a number of concrete initiatives to enhance partnership, including bringing forward new proposals to cut red tape, and through improving transparency, including a strengthened relationship with national Parliaments.' Such proposals could open the door for the 'Knowledge-based economy', backed by Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik. Commissioner Potocnik has adopted calls laid out in the Aho-group report, published earlier in the year. A pivotal proposal from the report begs for an opening of a 'true' common market, by eliminating red tape and awkward legal and trade differences between Member States, which are barriers to trade. President Barroso said in a statement, 'Today is a milestone for my Commission. Over the last 18 months we have successfully addressed many of the issues that were deadlocked when I took office. Today, we are adopting an ambitious, policy driven agenda for citizens. That requires a concerted effort by Member States and the EU institutions alike. There must be renewed commitment to Europe. The way to strengthen public confidence in Europe is through results. That is the way to create the conditions to deliver an institutional settlement.' However, there are as yet no specifics in President Barroso's proposals. The EU constitution will remain on the sidelines for the moment, despite the boost from Estonia's ratification of the constitution on 9 May, while the Commission re-groups and acts on the Plan D recommendations. The full set of proposals will be released during the EU leaders' summit on 15 and 16 June. The proposals released so far are: - a forward looking single market review, - an agenda for access and solidarity, in parallel to the single market review. - delivering better access for EU citizens to their existing rights, and greater awareness of those rights, including an 'entitlement card' for EU citizens. - improving decisions and accountability in justice, liberty and security policies, through the use of existing Treaty possibilities. Perhaps the Commission hopes that EU citizens will feel more positive about an infrastructure that has driven a knowledge-based economy, which in theory at least, will benefit all.

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