Bondevik submits EEA EFTA comments to EU Lisbon Strategy goals

As Chairman of the EFTA Standing Committee, Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik has sent a letter of support to the President of the European Council and Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker. The letter comes against the backdrop of the ambitious EU goals for the Lisbon Strategy.

15/02/2006 :: On behalf of the EEA EFTA States Bondevik expressed the need for a balanced approach towards the Lisbon agenda.

Bondevik further pointed to a need to establish conditions for sustainable growth in the Internal Market is an important goal “for all 28 countries in the European Economic Area”.

“It is important to maintain the mutually supportive interaction between economic, employment, social and environmental policy. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the promotion of economic growth and jobs is consistent with the objectives of the European Social Agenda and the European Sustainable Development Strategy,” Bondevik said.

Bearing in mind challenges such as an aging population, increased global competition and high unemployment, EEA EFTA States urge steps to be taken in an attempt to face these developments.

EEA EFTA States further call for the strengthening of the Internal Market by lifting national barriers that impede on industry growth and make it difficult for smaller businesses to prosper.

Bondevik believes the EU’s proposal for a directive on services will be central in this effort, along with a follow-up of the Internal Market Strategy to provide conditions for sustainable growth.

“The cost of doing business across national borders is still too high. For small and medium-sized enterprises red tape and technical barriers to trade present major obstacles to operating at a European level. It is important that the Community refines the instruments that enable free movement of goods, services, capital and persons,” said Bondevik.

The EEA EFTA States back the establishment of a European Research Area (ERA) and the Framework Programmes on the development of research and technology, also raising the need for improvements towards the mobility of researchers in Europe and increased funding from private sectors.

A focus on marine and petroleum research is central to Bondevik, as these areas are vital to Europe’s energy future and the region’s environment.
The need to maintain a sustainable development between social and economic growth and the protection of the environment is an important priority of both the EU and EEA EFTA States. 

“Economic development that fails to deal with environmental challenges will in the longer term undermine its own potential for growth and lead to irreversible environmental damage,” Bondevik said.


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Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik