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Its aim was to make the EU "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion", by 2010. It was set out by the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000. By 2010, most of its goals were not achieved.
The Lisbon Strategy intended to deal with the low productivity and stagnation of economic growth in the EU, through the formulation of various policy initiatives to be taken by all EU member states. The broader objectives set out by the Lisbon strategy were to be attained by 2010.
It was adopted for a ten-year period in 2000 in Lisbon, Portugal by the European Council. It broadly aimed to "make Europe, by 2010, the most competitive and the most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world".
The main fields were economic, social, and environmental renewal and sustainability. The Lisbon Strategy was heavily based on the economic concepts of:
Under the strategy, a stronger economy would create employment in the EU, alongside inclusive social and environmental policies, which would themselves drive economic growth even further.
An EU research group found in 2005 that current progress had been judged "unconvincing", so a reform process was introduced wherein all goals would be reviewed every three years, with assistance provided on failing items.
Translation of the Lisbon Strategy goals into concrete measures led to the extension of the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FPs) into FP7 and the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI).
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Contemporary key thinkers on whose works the Lisbon Strategy was based and/or who were involved in its creation include Maria João Rodrigues, Christopher Freeman, Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Luc Soete, Carlota Perez, Manuel Castells, Giovanni Dosi, and Richard Nelson.
Between April and November 2004, Wim Kok headed up a review of the program and presented a report on the Lisbon strategy concluding that even if some progress was made, most of the goals were not achieved:
European Union and its Member States have clearly themselves contributed to slow progress by failing to act on much of the Lisbon strategy with sufficient urgency. This disappointing delivery is due to an overloaded agenda, poor coordination and conflicting priorities. Still, a key issue has been the lack of determined political action—
The European Commission used this report as a basis for its proposal in February 2005 to refocus the Lisbon Agenda on actions that promote growth and jobs in a manner that is fully consistent with the objective of sustainable development. The Commission's communication stated that "making growth and jobs the immediate target goes hand in hand with promoting social or environmental objectives."
In its resolution on the midterm review of the Lisbon strategy in March 2005, the European Parliament expressed its belief that "sustainable growth and employment are Europe's most pressing goals and underpin social and environmental progress" and "that well-designed social and environmental policies are themselves key elements in strengthening Europe's economic performance".
Even if progress has been made it must be said that the Lisbon Agenda, with only a year remaining before it is to be evaluated, has been a failure.—
Spain's prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero pointed out that the non-binding character of the Lisbon Strategy contributed to the failure, and this lesson needed to be taken into account by the new Europe 2020 strategy.
Official appraisal of the Lisbon Strategy took place in March 2010 at a European Summit, where the new Europe 2020 strategy was also launched.