Turning Europe into a leading `global knowledge-based` economy has become something of an obsession for policy-makers in the EU. From the integrated guidelines of the Lisbon Agenda to the July 2005 announcement of a new scientific European Research Council, considerable effort has been directed towards selling a vision of Europe as a high-skilled, high-technology economy. However, this focus on the `New` economy mistakes the EU`s strengths, weaknesses and their causes. In reality, an improvement in its growth and employment prospects may lie with the decidedly unglamorous economics of labour market reforms and with the parts of the `Old` economy, which still comprises the main engine of growth. Innovation and the knowledge base are important, but these should not dominate the thoughts of policy-makers at the expense of other, equally important, factors. Systematic reform of the budet, progress on trade reform, along with a better investment climate, offer the opportunity to reallocate resources on the basis of the EU`s great strength: its skilled and competent people.
Productivity, Growth, Labour Markets, Europe, Reform, Lisbon Agenda
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