EU research analyses the new "development model" for Europe

March 17, 2003

Brussels, 14 March 2003

The challenges facing Europe's distinctive model of development are the focus of 33 research projects presented today by the Commission. The post-World War II model is not adapted any more to today's realities: its approach of combining economic, social and sustainability goals needs reassessing given the many changes in the world.

Its aims of improving people's quality of life and encouraging their integration into a wider European society could be increasingly difficult to achieve without a fundamental rethinking of principles. The Commission projects analyse challenges such as increasing pressure coming from international competition, changes in financial markets, growing inequalities, migration and ageing.

"After the Second World War, Europe was capable of creating a social and economic model that, even if strained by severe tensions, ensured more than fifty years of peace and prosperity, " said European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. "The illusion of never ending growth and constant improvement in our quality of life is now confronted with major challenges.

@The global economy, fast-changing demographic patterns, new sources of conflict, new technologies and the tensions embedded in the welfare state - these challenges require a new approach, new policy and analytical tools: in short, a brand new development model for Europe."

The EU takes the lead in defining the "New Development Model"

The March 2000 Lisbon and June 2001 Gothenburg European Councils set the basic goal of the New Development Model, by tackling the need for Europe to combine competitiveness with social and environmental protection, thereby fostering a growth model which is sustainable in the long term.

Moreover, Commission President Romano Prodi recently launched a high-level group to devise "A Sustainable Project for Europe". This group is chaired by Mr Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and includes a number of eminent experts from different backgrounds.

Research anticipates the new paradigm

Over the last four years, the Commission has started several projects addressing these complex issues, while taking into account specific characteristics of the various countries in Europe.

The Commission has funded 9 projects, involving 91 partners with a budget of €9.4 million, and 24 other projects (amounting to €19.6 million spending) have tackled specific aspects of the New Development Model.

Such projects have looked into such issues as:

  • "Improvement of Sustainability Strategy Elaboration for Economic, Environmental and Social Policy Integration in Europe"

  • "A Framework for Socio-Economic Development in Europe? The Consensual Political Cultures of the Small West European States in Comparative and Historical Perspective"

  • "Innovative companies' performances, internal/external workforce flexibility and personal/social consequences"

  • "The provision of basic services in liberalised markets"

  • "Innovation in the public sector".
A better understanding of progress and challenges

The results from this research and previous related research from the "Targeted Socio-Economic Research Programme" are emerging and will increase in volume and richness over the next 3 years.

It is hoped that the results should give a better understanding of how economic and social progress may be combined in the specific European conditions; how quality of life can be improved in this context, for example in the relationship between working life, family life and social life; how inequalities and social cohesion are related to economic developments; how environmental sustainability can be more strongly integrated with other policies; and the relationship of public participation to the achievement of all these objectives.

For further information please visit:

DN: IP/03/376 Date: 14/03/2003

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