EU: Economy

House of Lords written question – answered on 25th January 2010.

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Photo of Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Spokesperson for Work and Pensions

To ask Her Majesty's Government what targets they have proposed to European Union states for economic growth in the European Union in the next ten years.

Photo of Lord Myners Lord Myners Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury

Building on the Prime Minister's letter to the Swedish Prime Minister ahead of the October 2009 European Council, the Government on 19 January published their plans for a new European compact for jobs and growth, available at: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/329788/compact-jobs-growth.pdf.

The paper argues that Europe should agree a compact that brings together EU institutions and member states in a common cause of generating strong, sustainable and balanced growth. The starting point for delivering this ambitious agenda should be a set of clear and measurable objectives around:

strengthening Europe's long-run growth potential;ensuring growth within Europe and its Member States is balanced;increasing employment and labour market participation;raising labour and capital productivity; andfacilitating investment.

Member states should define and establish measurable national targets that contribute to meeting these EU objectives, and be held publicly accountable for progress towards these targets through intergovernmental peer review.

Within this framework the paper proposes specific targets for action at the member state and EU-level:

national targets to reduce child poverty supported by greater cohesion between employment policy and social protection;promoting greater participation and equality of women in the workplace by ensuring a new EU gender road map which includes agreement of targets to close the gender pay gap and increase the participation of women in public and private sectors; anda target for all homes and businesses to have access to broadband at 2 Mb per second by the end of 2013.

The paper also suggests that an annual economic summit of EU leaders should be established to review progress against the objectives on the basis of reports from the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB).

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