EU 2020 Comments

15 January 2010:

The ICLS prepared and submitted to the European Commission (EC) its comments on the EC strategy working document entitled EU 2020. We hope this would positively contribute to collective thinking and finding solutions for the main challenges facing Europe.

The basic EC text can be seen on http://ec.europa.eu

Our submitted comments read:

"EU 2020: Comments by the ICLS

  1. We welcome the initiative of the European Commission to design EU 2020 "as the successor of the Lisbon strategy". This note, as invited by the Commission, is to point out what we see as inconsistency between the title, one of the subtitles and the text of the document and recommends some remedies to such inconsistencies, by aligning the title with the content of the document and by enriching the second part of the text so that it more corresponds to its subtitle and addresses a decisively important aspect that seems to have been overlooked when the document was drafted.
  2. The title of the Working Document "EU 2020" suggests more than discussing only the economy in the European Union. Europe's citizens and societies are inseparable from the European economy but the document does not live up to the expectations raised by its title to address citizens and the full context of society within which the economy functions. The second key priority of the Working Document (" Empowering people in inclusive societies ") does not fully discuss, again, what the title promises, only one important aspect of it, job creation.
  3. Even if the title of the working document would be made more precise, e.g. "EU 2020: an economic strategy", the dominant economic value of a truly inclusive society, an empowered and therefore participating citizenry (as envisaged by the Lisbon Treaty) and the generational sustainability of both society and economy would need to be addressed in the document more seriously than the current draft does. Some statements in the document, like "having a job is probably the best safeguard against poverty and exclusion" would need to be revised by more substance-based, interdisciplinary thinking on social exclusion and its political and economic consequences.
  4. Our recommendation is, that during the expected revision of this working document, the Commission proposes to the Council, firstly, the recognition of social diversity, cohesion and inclusion as a key economic factor for Europe and treating it accordingly by designing the necessary management and investment strategies in that key economic factor.
  5. Secondly, we recommend that the Commission proposes to the Council to address the demographic challenges of most European societies with a corresponding and potent social and economic strategy. The existing divisions and limited social inclusion between different ethnic, religious and cultural population groups in many European societies and the lack of population growth in most groups with the main exception of those of immigrant origin, combined with high youth unemployment exactly within those population groups, if not adequately addressed, would be hindering the chances of robust economic development in European societies.
  6. Finally, we believe that no 21st.century long-term economic strategy paper can omit the increasingly strong impact of climate change on economy and society. The document's references only to a green economy, instead of an interdisciplinary approach to climate protection and its economic and social-political consequences, would in our view not stand the test of the forthcoming decade. We recommend placing the economic and social aspects of climate protection in the place it realistically deserves in the strategy.
  7. We look forward to the publication and taking into account of these comments by the European Commission.

Rome, 14 January 2010

Geza Tessenyi, President

Guido Orlandini, Secretary General

The Intercultural Communication and Leadership School (ICLS), www.intercivilization.net