Brussels, 17 Nov 2005
Europe must 'stop hiding behind its social model' and instead concentrate on creating the right conditions for entrepreneurship to flourish at the local and regional level, a Committee of the Regions (CoR) workshop on the Lisbon strategy has heard.
Anders Gustav, president of the CoR's commission for economic and social policy, told the workshop that in the current climate Europe should 'talk more about opportunities than threats' if it is to achieve the Lisbon goal of becoming the world's most competitive knowledge based economy.
Mr Gustav added that his time as Mayor of Solna in Sweden, which has achieved the highest levels of economic growth in the country for the past five years, proved to him the vital role that local and regional authorities can play in boosting competitiveness.
Mr Gustav's comments were supported by Gerd-Jan Koopman, Director of industrial policy and economic reform at the Commission's Enterprise and Industry DG. Local and regional authorities, he added, should be fully involved in the preparation and implementation of Member States' national reform programmes, currently being drawn up under the relaunched Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs.
The main priority that Europe's regions should concentrate on, concluded Mr Koopman, is 'protecting workers, not protecting jobs'.
For further information, please contact: