Patience Wheatcroft
Wall Street Journal
February 9, 2010

The European Union is in need of a new economic strategy.

The veracity of that statement might seem indisputable, as various EU countries, led by Greece, struggle to avoid being crushed by their accumulated debts. But in the surreal bureaucratic thinking of the EU, the reason it needs a new economic strategy has as much to do with the fact that its previous one is nearing its expiry date as any desperate need to deal with the current crisis.

[efoods]In March 2000, the EU set out its strategy for the next decade. It wasn’t unambitious. In fact, it showed an heroic determination to ignore what was going on elsewhere in the world, for at the heart of the economic policy was a new strategic goal: “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.”

It seems almost cruel now to revisit the document which explained how this was to be achieved. There was to be an emphasis on “modernizing the European social model, investing in people and combating social exclusion” and a drive to “improve the quality and sustainability of public finances.”


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