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Europe 2020: An Announced Failure

, by Federico Brunelli, translated by Francesco Santini

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On Wednesday 3rd March, the European Commission approved the “Europe 2020” plan for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that should be endorsed by the European Council in the first half of this year.

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The Lisbon Strategy 2000-2010

It is meaningful to recall that ten years ago, in 2000, the European Council, in its meeting in Lisbon, agreed to strive to make the EU the most dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010. According to this strategy, the governments should have provided resources for research and innovation. This objective was rather ambitious and it is clear to everybody that this strategy has failed.

European Leaders made Several Mistakes

European leaders believed that a generic coordination of their national economic policies (Open Method of Coordination) would have been enough to secure growth and they did not provide the EU the power to establish binding rules and sanctions for states that do not comply with them. In this situation, it is to nobody’s advantage to behave in accordance to the strategy, but it is easier to wait others to do so, in order to gain the benefits for free.

Leaders also refused the European budget the necessary financial resources for an effective plan for investments in infrastructure for the establishment of large European enterprises and for research and innovation.

European leaders did not allow the issue of European public debt Bonds (Union Bonds) that would have made possible the collection of huge financial capitals on the global market. These bonds would have attracted capital as the historical moment, when the dollar and the US are not considered as reliable anymore. Union bonds would have provided a low interest rate thanks to the reliability that the EU and the Euro enjoy. These capitals could have been used for the European development plan. Europe 2020: Lisbon 2: the missed opportunity for revenge?

According to what we are allowed to know, it seems that the European Commission and the member states have not learnt anything from their past mistakes. The elements of the “Europe 2020” plan recall those of the Lisbon Strategy: ambitious objectives, broad confidence in the willingness of states to individually put in practice the necessary policies, many recommendations but no possible sanctions, no hint for a possible attribution to the Commission of governance power nor for a broadening of the European budget.

According to what we are allowed to know, it seems that the European Commission and the member states have not learnt anything from their past mistakes.

Why is the same failed formula being proposed again?

I do not think that this is only because of the incompetence of the European political class. On the contrary, in Brussels many know that, if a chance was given to the realisation for a binding European growth plan, then it would be an extraordinary success for the foolish ambition of the poor national states to still count in the world of a new millennium.

By now the proposals of this article are well-known and not only to the federalists; if these proposals are not included in the “Europe 2020” plan, this will probably be the result of a precise rational choice. Thus, it is appropriate to observe that in order to keep the appearance of sovereign states before their citizens; the European leaders are once again thinking to renounce the pursuit of the present and future well-being of the European citizens.

Yet, dear Ms. Merkel, Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Brown you will not manage it. You will not be able to keep your place in the sun that you believe you still have: in reality you have already lost it. In the long run you will not be able to enjoy the consensus of the citizens by making them promises that at national level cannot become reality. The process of globalisation will overwhelm you and your ridiculous grandeur attitude that you still pretend to perform. If you want to be remembered in the history books, you have only one possibility to do so: start the establishment of the European federation. Only by doing so you will be remembered as the winners of this historical era. Otherwise, I am sorry for you, you will be remembered as “losers’’.

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Image: Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Source: Flickr.

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