Commission Communication on structural indicators.
Report by the Economic Policy Committee on Structural Indicators.
|Document originated:||(a) 30 October 2001|
(b) 19 November 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||(a) 6 November 2001
|Deposited in Parliament:
||(a) 21 November 2001
(b) 7 December 2001
|Basis of consideration:
||(a) EM of 6 December 2001|
(b) EM of 12 December 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see paragraph 11.2|
|To be discussed in Council:
||Not known |
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||(Both) Cleared
11.1 In March 2000, at the Lisbon Special European Council,
the Union set itself a goal for the next decade of becoming "the
most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world
capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs
and greater social cohesion". The Lisbon Council acknowledged
the need for regular assessment of progress towards this goal
on the basis of commonly agreed structural indicators. To that
end, it invited the Commission to "draw up an annual synthesis
report on progress on the basis of structural indicators to be
agreed relating to employment, innovation, economic reform and
11.2 A list of 35 structural indicators, which the ECOFIN
Council and the Commission agreed should be used in the Commission's
Synthesis Report, was sent to the Nice European Council in December
2000. The previous Committee reported on a number of documents
relating to the structural indicators. The Synthesis Report and
structural indicators were discussed at the Stockholm European
Council in March 2001.
On the basis of that discussion, the Stockholm Council called
for indicators to be developed on, amongst other things, countering
social exclusion, care facilities for children, quality of work
and discriminatory pay differentials between men and women. At
Gothenburg (June 2001), the European Council called for indicators
also to be developed for monitoring progress towards sustainable
development. In March 2001, ECOFIN agreed to take a short list
of 12 indicators from the 35 indicators as the basis for the Council's
discussions and a more concise overview of the performance of
11.3 Document (a) is the Commission's response to the
request from the European Councils for amendments to the list
of indicators used in the first Synthesis Report. As a result
of the Commission's deletions and additions, the new list contains
36 indicators, with some sub-divisions. The new list excludes
the following indicators used in last year's Synthesis Report:
general government debt; Information Communication Technology
(ICT) expenditure; exports of high-tech products; trade integration;
business investment; and jobless households.
11.4 The following indicators are now included: gender
pay gap; quality of work (accidents at work) science and technology;
market structure in network industries; greenhouse gas emissions;
volume of transport in relation to GDP; modal split of transport;
urban air quality ; and municipal waste. The new list of indicators
will be used in drawing up the Synthesis Report to be published
in Spring 2002. Annex 1 sets out the new list.
11.5 Document (b) presents the views of the Economic
Policy Committee (EPC) to ECOFIN on the structural indicators.
In general, the EPC welcomes the revisions to the list. However,
it suggests increasing the number of indicators in the broad category
of economic reform to reflect its central importance to the overall
strategic goals. The EPC also considers that the Commission should
use the shortlist of indicators in the Synthesis Report.
The Government's view
11.6 The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ruth Kelly)
says that the Government is a strong supporter of the Lisbon economic
reform agenda. She says
"Structural reform will lift the long-term potential
of EU economies to attain high and sustainable levels of employment,
and increase productivity. Greater flexibility, especially in
labour markets, will also enable economies to adjust more quickly
in the short term to shocks. To achieve these goals, the Government
believes that structural indicators are an important tool in monitoring
progress on structural reforms, and to highlight areas where further
action may be needed."
11.7 The Minister adds that the Communication from the
EPC was an integral part of monitoring the process.
11.8 Drawing up a list of structural indicators and
assessing the performance of each Member State against such indicators
is an example of the "open method of coordination".
The structural indicators make it possible for the pace of economic
reform and social cohesion in each Member State to be quietly
monitored and assessed. The results will be used as the basis
for the 2002 Synthesis Report. We thought it useful to provide
a short report to the House on the revised list of indicators.
The Synthesis Reports can provide a useful and stimulating contribution
to a debate on progress in implementing the reform agenda. However,
it is important to note that any inferences or recommendations
from such reports cannot be binding on Member States. We are content
to clear the documents.
11909/00; HC 23-xxviii (1999-2000), paragraph 30 (1 November 2000). Back