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Human Capital for the Competitiveness of the EU: the Role of National Reform Programmes

By Stefano Riela Fulvio Mulatero

Abstract

The 2006 Spring European Council assessed the competitiveness of the European Union, according to the so-called “Lisbon Strategy” started in 2000. The complexity of the Lisbon Strategy, and its poor results after five years since its implementation, required a renewed commitment, thus the EU leaders endorsed a streamlined approach by which each of the 25 Member States prepared a National Reform Programme covering, for a three-year period, all the relevant policy areas according to a set of guidelines. Even though very few months were dedicated to prepare National Reform Programmes and still few months passed for the first Commission assessment, in this paper we assess whether the seven major Member States are on the right way towards the strengthening of a knowledge-based economy. We do it by “measuring” the gap between the current situation in our sample of MSs and the effective commitment expressed in the respective NRPs. Notwithstanding positive signals, structural differences among Member States still matter and “expensive” reforms are difficult in a period of slow growth and fiscal constraints.Human capital, Competitiveness, European Union

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