In its newest regular meeting held on June 21, the EU Council has adopted new Strategic Agenda for 2020–2024 period. The Strategic Agenda focuses on four main priorities: protecting citizens and freedoms, followed by development of a strong and vibrant economic base, building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe, and ultimately, promoting European interests and values on the global stage. The document enacts several key areas of EU’s focus in the next five years, while pointing out some new determinants of economic development and progress in Europe.
A strong economic base is of key importance for Europe’s competitiveness, prosperity and role on the global stage and for the creation of jobs. As claimed in the Strategy, as technological, security and sustainability challenges reshape the global landscape, Europe needs to renew the basis for long–term sustainable and inclusive growth and strengthen cohesion in the EU. This requires achieving the upward convergence of our economies and addressing the demographic challenges. The Strategy calls upon emerging that euro works for EU citizens and remains resilient, deepening the Economic and Monetary Union in all its dimensions, completing the Banking and Capital Markets Union and strengthening the international role of the euro. To maximize the European influence, Europeans need a more integrated approach connecting all relevant policies and dimensions: deepening and strengthening the Single Market and its four freedoms, designing an industrial policy fit for the future, addressing the digital revolution and ensuring fair and effective taxation. The Single Market in all its dimensions is a key asset in that regard. Part of a Strategy asserts that the EU cannot afford to under-utilized the potential of a market of half a billion people, particularly in the area of services. Short-term difficulties cannot be invoked as an argument against a long-term strategy that is bold, all-encompassing, and forward-looking. This must go hand in hand with a more assertive, comprehensive and coordinated industrial policy. The EU needs both, and needs them urgently. Over the next few years, the digital transformation will further accelerate and will have far-reaching effects. The Strategy refers to ensuring that Europe is digitally sovereign and obtains its fair share of benefits of this development. Its policy must be shaped in a way that embodies societal values, promotes inclusiveness, and remains compatible with our way of life. To this end, the EU must work on all aspects of the digital revolution and artificial intelligence: infrastructure, connectivity, services, data, regulation and investment. This has to be accompanied by the development of the service economy and the mainstreaming of digital services. At the same time, investment in people’s skills are emphasized, and education, do more to foster entrepreneurship and innovation and increase research efforts, in particular by addressing the fragmentation of European research, development and innovation. Investing in future also means encouraging and supporting public and private investment, including in infrastructure, to finance the growth of European economy and businesses, including SMEs. In a world where common rules and standards are increasingly questioned, it will be vital to promote a level playing field, including in the area of trade. This means ensuring fair competition within the EU and on the global stage, promoting market access, fighting unfair practices, extraterritorial measures and security risks from third countries, and securing our strategic supply chains. The EU according to this Agenda will continue to update its competition framework to new technological and global market developments.
All the previously stated goals from the Strategic Agenda could be summed up within the development of European economic base, called as the “European model for the future”.
Europe’s competitiveness, prosperity, jobs and role on the global stage all depend on a strong economic base. In this field, the European Council is focusing on:
- deepening the Economic and Monetary Union
- completing the banking and capital markets union
- strengthening the international role of the euro
- strengthening cohesion in the EU
- working on all aspects of the digital revolution and artificial intelligence: infrastructure, connectivity, services, data, regulation and investment
- reducing the fragmentation of European research, development and innovation activities
- ensuring fair competition within the EU and on the global stage