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At the Lisbon summit in March 2000, European Union leaders set out a new strategy, based on a consensus among Member States, to modernize Europe. This became known as the Lisbon Strategy.
The Lisbon Strategy aimed at making the European Union (EU) the most competitive economy in the world and achieving full employment by 2010. This strategy, developed at subsequent meetings of the European Council, rests on three pillars:
- An economic pillar preparing the ground for the transition to a competitive, dynamic, knowledge-based economy. Emphasis is placed on the need to adapt constantly to changes in the information society and to boost research and development.
- A social pillar designed to modernise the European social model by investing in human resources and combating social exclusion. The Member States are expected to invest in education and training, and to conduct an active policy for employment, making it easier to move to a knowledge economy.
- An environmental pillar, which was added at the Göteborg European Council meeting in June 2001, draws attention to the fact that economic growth must be decoupled from the use of natural resources.
Lisbon Strategy and Lisbon Treaty
The Lisbon Strategy should not be confused with the Lisbon Treaty:
- The Lisbon Treaty relates to the institutional structure of the EU;
- The Lisbon Strategy refers to the EU’s economic goals.