Introduction section Lisbon Strategy
On March 23 and 24 2000, the Heads of State or Government of the fifteen Member States of the Union, gathered for an extraordinary meeting in Lisbon and launched the Lisbon Strategy (Lisbon I). The latter is aimed at setting the stage for the European economy to become the world’s most competitive economic area by 2020, by supporting employment, economic reform and social cohesion, in the framework of a “new economy” based on knowledge and investment in human capital. The objectives to be achieved in ten years are: a European average employment rate of 70%, a female employment rate of 60%, an overall ratio of EU R&D investment to GDP of at least 3%
To achieve these objectives the plan launched by the extraordinary summit of the European Council held in March 2000 sets out a path for reforms as well as requirements to be fulfilled in several areas within an agreed timeframe: for example, reducing the cost of Internet access by the end of 2000; access to the Internet and all multimedia tools in all schools of Europe by 2001; establishment of a research and innovation space; removal of obstacles to researcher mobility in Europe; establishment of the European patent by 2001; preparation of the European Card for small enterprises; completion of financial market integration by 2005 and reduction in State aid.
In 2005, halfway through the process agreed to in Lisbon, signs of a substantial failure in the European development strategy launched in 2000 began to emerge. On 22 and 23 March 2005, the Heads of State or Government of the European Union therefore agreed to revitalise the Lisbon Strategy (Lisbon II) by setting two key objectives: economic growth and employment (new strategy for growth and jobs). The most important novelty in the new Lisbon strategy lies in its attempt to find an integrated approach to the coordination of economic and employment policies at both the European and the national levels, which entails the introduction of new planning tools: the “integrated guidelines”, which set out the general objectives agreed to at European leval and the National Reform Programs (PNR – Programmi nazionali di riforma) which set out objectives for individual States.
As to the implementation of the Strategy in Italy, in the transition phase from Lisbon I to Lisbon II the framework for governing the process has been defined by the Community Policies Department of the Prime Minister’s Office in cooperation with other Ministries and with the participation of the Conference of the Regions. In 2006 the governance framework was strengthened: policy setting on the Strategy rests with the Interministerial Committee on European Community Affairs (CIACE Comitato Interministeriale per gli Affari Comunitari Europei (CIACE), established by Law No. 11 of 4 February 2005 within the Office of the Prime Minister. CIACE is supported in its work by a permanent technical committee within the Community Policies Department.