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Lisbon summit will look to define strategy

Ministers attending the Lisbon summit on 23 and 24 March will focus on how
to develop an innovation and knowledge-based economy with more and better jobs and social cohesion, according to an official statement from the Portuguese Presidency. This should form the central quest...
Ministers attending the Lisbon summit on 23 and 24 March will focus on how
to develop an innovation and knowledge-based economy with more and better jobs and social cohesion, according to an official statement from the Portuguese Presidency. This should form the central question that guides the definition of a European strategy for growth, competitiveness and employment, it continues.

Preparatory debates are now well underway for the summit when the special European Council of Ministers will meet for discussions framed by the theme 'Employment, economic reforms and social cohesion - for a Europe of innovation and knowledge'.

'The Lisbon European Summit will be an outstanding moment in a broader action line aimed at enhancing the coordination of economic and social policies in Europe towards a new long term objective', says a Portuguese Presidency statement.

'This action line, which started with an International Hearing, will be supported, during the Portuguese Presidency, by another European Council, 14 Councils of Ministers, a High Level Forum and seven Conferences at ministerial level. This effort will then have to be pursued by forthcoming Presidencies', continues the statement.

Discussions should take into account the new conditions governing growth, employment and competitiveness, including globalisation, the Seattle Round, technological change, and the need for more internal coordination following the launch of the Euro.

The conclusions of the Lisbon Summit could be implemented on the basis of the document of the broad economic guidelines to be presented by the Commission in April and to be voted on in June. The conclusions of the Summit can also be put into a set of initiatives which the European Commission is working on, such as strategies for the information society (with E-Europe) and for social cohesion.

Another important contribution of the Lisbon Summit, according to the Portuguese Presidency, should be the European political leaders' commitment to assume a benchmarking process which will enable national policies to build on initiatives launched by the European Commission.

'In this new period with a better prospect for sustainable growth, more focus should be put on concrete solutions for citizens' problems, and on building a new competitive platform in order to foster new jobs and quality of life in Europe', concludes the statement.

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