Extract from the "Presidency Conclusions Brussels, 15/16 December 2005"
VIII. GROWTH AND JOBS
- Recalling the Council (ECOFIN) conclusions of 6 December 2005, the European Council notes that the world economy is experiencing a period of rapid and significant economic change and agrees that Europe needs economic reforms, social modernisation and sustainable environmental policies to safeguard its values and respond effectively to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation and demographic change. The European Council underlines the importance of innovation, Information and Communication Technology, research and human capital, in particular with respect to SMEs, for achieving higher employment, productivity and sustainable growth across the European Union, in the context of sound macroeconomic policies.
- The European Council welcomes the Member States' National Reform Programmes and the Commission's Community Lisbon Programme and looks forward to the Commission's January progress report. It stresses the importance of National Reform Programmes to strengthen the overall governance of the Lisbon Strategy and invites Member States, the Commission and the Council to monitor and evaluate their implementation in line with the March 2005 European Council conclusions.
- Taking due account of the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality and the importance of respecting the acquis communautaire, the European Council stresses that an improved regulatory framework in the European Union, at Community and Member States level, is key to delivering growth and jobs. Emphasis should be placed on implementing commitments already made by all institutions, including the provisions of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 16 December 2003. On that basis, the European Council welcomes the significant progress made since its last meeting and agrees on the importance of further work as set out in the attached annex covering i) reducing burdens on business and citizens through simplification and screening; ii) the revised impact assessment system and iii) EU common methodology for assessing the administrative costs of legislation.
- The European Council stresses the importance of ensuring, in accordance with its conclusions of March 2005, the proper functioning of the internal market, including for services. The European Council notes the progress made on the Services Directive and looks forward, with a view to sustained momentum, to the Commission's amended proposal.