The following members of the European Parliament attended the meeting: New Democracy parliamentary head Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Katerina Batzeli, Georgios Karatzaferis, Stavros Lambrinidis, Manolis Mavromatis, Athanasios Pafilis, Maria Panagiotopoulou-Kassiotou, Georgios Papastamkos, Antonis Samaras and Nikolaos Vakalis.
The purpose of the meeting was to inform MEPs about the National Action Plan which is currently being drawn up with regard to the Lisbon Strategy, and about the work and results of the Competitiveness Council of Ministers on 7 March 2005, as well as to exchange views on this issue in view of the Spring European Council on 22 and 23 March.
In his speech, Mr Sioufas outlined the importance of the Lisbon Strategy (noting that “Competitiveness Strategy” might be a more appropriate term) for Europe’s and Greece’s economy, employment, social progress and the environment, and explained Greece’s position on the proper application of the Lisbon Strategy.
“We believe,” he said, “that the three pillars of the Strategy (economic, social and environmental) are of equal importance. None of them should be pushed aside or (still worse) ignored. Total development (development in every sector, development throughout the country, development linked with knowledge and new technologies) is what creates new jobs and social progress, with protection of the environment. Our basic priority remains adherence to the European Social Model. And the proper application of the Lisbon Strategy serves this model, serves the prosperity of European citizens.”
Referring to the priorities of the Ministry of Development for dealing with the considerable delay in achieving the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, Mr Sioufas listed the following:
- investing in knowledge and innovation as basic elements of development
- mobilising as much private capital as possible
- increasing investment in tourism and alternative sources of energy
- encouraging business to be outward-looking
- emphasising quality of products and services
- linking research with production
- deregulating energy markets
- examining methods for measuring the impact of legislation on the competitiveness of the economy and businesses
- improving the methodology for plotting the country’s performance in competitiveness indexes
“The Lisbon Strategy is not just an internal issue,” stressed Mr Sioufas. “Achieving its objectives requires the involvement of citizens, institutions, businesses and state in every forum.”
Mr Sioufas also asked for the assistance of Greek MEPs regarding the introduction of one- and two-euro banknotes in countries which have adopted the euro.
Mr Sioufas’s speech to Greek MEPs.