EEA

The Lisbon Strategy and Norway

The aim of the Lisbon Strategy is to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. Many elements of the Lisbon Strategy affect the EEA/EFTA countries through the EEA co-operation. Hence, it is a priority for Norway to take part in and influence relevant parts of the process.

At the EU Lisbon Summit in March 2000, the EU embarked on a strategy to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. The Summit called for a new method of "open co-ordination" to promote sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion. Unlike traditional forms of EU policy formulation, this approach calls for setting targets and benchmarking progress, primarily through the European Council. The Council now meets every spring to take stock of progress and determine new targets for the Lisbon Strategy. At the Stockholm European Council in March 2001 sustainable development policy was added to economic and social policy as a third area for co-ordination through the Lisbon process.

Many elements of the Lisbon Strategy affect the EEA Agreement. Therefore, it is a high priority for the EEA EFTA countries to be attached to and participate in relevant parts of the process. In October 2000, the Standing Committee of the EFTA States, which consists of the EEA EFTA countries, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, established an Ad hoc Group on the follow-up to the Lisbon Summit. This group has co-ordinated EEA comments to the Stockholm (2001), the Barcelona (2002) and Brussels (2003 and 2004) Summits.

The EFTA Ad hoc group on the Lisbon Strategy was in September 2003 transformed into a permanent EFTA group on the Lisbon Strategy and other horizontal policy issues.

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