Commission Communication: Investing in Networks and Knowledge for Growth and Jobs (link)

November 17, 2003

Brussels, 14 Nov 2003

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION
A EUROPEAN INITIATIVE FOR GROWTH
Investing in Networks and Knowledge for Growth and Jobs
FINAL REPORT TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL
Full Text

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Introduction.................................................................................................................. 3 2. A European Initiative for Growth ................................................................................ 5 2.1. The scope of the Initiative ............................................................................................ 5 2.2. Mobilising investment and finance in support of the European Initiative for Growth 8 3. Taking the Initiative Forward..................................................................................... 12 3.1. The Quick-start Programme ...................................................................................... 13 3.2. Innovative financing in support of the European Initiative for Growth .................... 16 3.3. The statistical treatment of public-private partnerships and securitisation operations in ESA95..................................................................................................................... 19 3.4. Monitoring progress and regular reporting .............................................................. 20 4. Conclusions................................................................................................................ 20 Annex 1: Quick-start Projects: Tranport Networks, Broadband Networks, Research, Innovation and Development ..................................................................................... 22 Annex 2: A roadmap for knowledge and networks.................................................................. 36 Annex 3: Map of Quick-start Transport projects ..................................................................... 38

1. INTRODUCTION

The European economy has experienced two difficult years. Now there are encouraging signs that the worst is behind us. Business and consumer confidence is starting to improve. Economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of 2003 and to gather pace throughout 2004. Our recent forecasts indicate an average GDP growth in the euro area of 1.8% in 2004 and up to 2.3% in 2005.

The situation remains fragile. The recent lacklustre economic performance confirms the need for our ambitious Lisbon agenda for economic, social and environmental renewal.

These reforms must be vigorously pursued, so that their contribution to raising Europe's growth potential can now be felt. Reform at a national and European level is essential, but not enough on its own to consolidate progress. It must be backed by action now to rekindle investment. This action should reinforce the Union's capacity to grow and contribute to setting it on a sustainable path.

If this is done, it will send a message of confidence and commitment; a signal of effective economic governance. There is now a window of opportunity not to be missed, as happened in the economic upturn of 1999-2000.

The European Council last October1 therefore called on Member States to maintain sound macroeconomic policies, accelerate structural reforms and promote investment in networks and knowledge. It highlighted the importance of speeding up the roll out of European transport, energy and electronic communication networks and of increasing investment in human capital. These are crucial steps to boost growth, better integrate an enlarged Europe and improve the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses on global markets.

This European Initiative for Growth responds to that call.

This Initiative seeks to mobilise investment in areas that will reinforce on-going structural reforms, stimulate growth and create jobs. Energy and transport links are needed to bind together an enlarged internal market and to promote greater geographical and social cohesion. Broadband communications can provide a physical backbone for bringing the knowledge economy to every part of the Union. Boosting our ability to generate and use knowledge ­ be it through science, skills or people - is the key to ensuring that European businesses can continue to innovate and compete and that our citizens can participate more fully in society.

It combines action needed to create the right regulatory, financial and administrative conditions to boost private investment and the mobilisation of Community funding with an invitation to Member States, in line with the 2003 Broad Economic Policy Guidelines2, to continue refocusing public expenditure towards growth-enhancing areas

Brussels, 11.11.2003 COM(2003) 690 final

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