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17 March 2011

2020 strategy under scrutiny in EESC

Yesterday (16 March) at the plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso stressed the importance of the EESC's active involvement in the European Semester, a new instrument designed to ensure a preventive supervision of economic and budgetary policies of Member States. The Commission's Annual Growth Survey, which kicked off the first semester, provided advice on the direction for national economic and fiscal policies to follow. In its new opinion on the survey, the EESC lambasted the Commission for missing the opportunity to target smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, focusing instead on fiscal consolidation and labour market and pension system reforms. "The Commission is plain wrong while presenting drastic fiscal consolidation as the prerequisite for growth. Emphasis should be put on growth drivers as only they can enable this fiscal consolidation", said Michael Smyth (Great Britain, Various Interest's Group), rapporteur of the opinion. On the  other hand, EESC Members welcomed Mr Barroso's emphasis on social dialogue and civil society's engagement as a way to reduce the risk of the Europe 2020 Strategy's legitimacy deficit and called for less red tape for innovators and inventors (for more, see press release)

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