Europe unveils plan for greater prosperity | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 03.03.2010
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Europe

Europe unveils plan for greater prosperity

The EU has unveiled its '2020 strategy' to lead the continent away from economic crisis towards a greener, more prosperous future. However, part of the strategy has prompted concern from Germany.

A piggy pank with euro symbol

The plan is aimed at making Europe more competitive

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday outlined policy plans aimed at maintaining Europe's standing as an economic world power.

"We are more interdependent than ever. We need economic coordination now more than ever," Barroso said in a speech laying out the EU's 2020 strategy in Brussels.

The Commission published the strategy to replace the Lisbon Agenda, which is regarded as having failed in its target to make the EU "the world's most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy" by 2010.

The commission hopes that its plan will boost economic growth, create jobs and steer Europe away from financial crisis. The final document, made public Wednesday, also introduces environmental targets.

Specific aims include increasing employment from 69 percent to 75 percent of the workforce across the EU. There is also greater emphasis on research and development - from 1.9 percent to 3 percent of gross EU domestic product.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed concern that the plan could be too political

Carbon dioxide emissions are to be reduced by 20 percent compared with 1990 levels, with 20 percent of energy needs to be met by renewable energy.

Need to maintain global standing

The plan is aimed at maintaining Europe's place as an economic world power alongside China and the United States, by putting it on an upward path of prosperity.

"We risk ending with a permanent loss in wealth, a sluggish growth rate, high levels of unemployment and social distress, and a relative decline on the world scene," the proposals said.

However, Germany has already expressed concerns about part of the plan to link economic goals with financial oversight of national economies. In a letter to the commission's President José Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that supervision of finances could be made "unnecessarily political" as a result.

EU leaders will be asked to endorse the strategy at a summit later this month.

rc/smh/AFP/dpa/Reuters
Editor: Rob Turner

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