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07 January 2010
The European Union's (EU) first full-time President, the former Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, has announced that he is summoning national heads of government to Brussels on 11 February 2010 for a special summit, which will concentrate on boosting the EU's competitiveness, economic growth and reduce unemployment, The Financial Times reports.
Van Rompuy has made it clear that economic reform is a priority and that the EU must at least double its average annual growth rate of 1% if it wants a functioning welfare state and high living standards.
The summit is aimed at developing an economic and employment strategy for the next ten years called '2020 Strategy'.
The European Commission wants the '2020 Strategy' to focus on the EU's technological edge, especially so-called green industries and on measures to improve higher education and cut youth unemployment.
In a recent report for the Brussels-based Brueguel think tank the French economist Jean Pisani-Ferry and the Belgian economist Andre Sapir, wrote "the fragmentation of public R&D funding along national lines in Europe is increasingly inefficient."
However, not all EU governments are currently entirely in favour of pooling national resources for Research & Development (R&D) purposes.
It is Mr. Van Rompuy's clear determination that the '2020 Strategy' will not go the same way as the Lisbon agenda about which former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok said "Lisbon is about everything and thus about nothing. Everybody is responsible, and thus no one."