EUROPE - The European Commission reiterated its plea to member states to meet the deadline for its Financial Services Action Plan, prior to the Barcelona European Council which groups today.
According to EC president, Romano Prodi, the Barcelona summit provided an opportunity to focus on the economic and social strategy of the Union, noting that the first few years of the so-called Lisbon agenda were “crucial to the overall success of the exercise.”
He argued that the the EC must agree to keep to its Financial Services Action Plan, enabling the “full integration of the market by 2005.”
“This will reduce the cost of capital for all firms and consumers. It will offer a wider choice of financing options, and it will increase the yield on investments and on pension funds,” said Prodi
“Now that the institutional hurdle has been removed, I see no reason to miss this deadline.”
He added that if the timetable was adhered to, overall financial growth could be increased at a rate of some 0.5% a year.
Prodi also talked about labour mobility, stressing that work should be made ”more rewarding” than unemployment or retirement.
“We must also remove the obstacles that prevent women, young people and older people (women and men alike) from taking up work,” he said.
By Madhu Kalia
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