At the start of the last decade, in March 2000, the European Union heads of state announced the Lisbon Strategy. Its aim, by 2010, was to make Europe “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.” This would create “the conditions for full employment and the strengthening of regional cohesion in the European Union.”
As the second decade of the 21st century begins, the aspirations set forth in the Portuguese capital have evaporated. Instead of full employment, Europe is gripped by mass unemployment; instead of economic growth, there is stagnation; in place of cohesion, there is discord. Even the common currency, the foundation of the lofty plans of Lisbon, is in acute danger.