"Europe needs a strong industrial base" Gunter Verheugen really does seem to be as banal and predictable as that, its either that or Margots' been at him. 'People need to eat', 'grass is green' and 'beer gets you drunk' will no doubt be the Commissions new, 'be honest with the people' strategy.
This honesty is bogged down in a desperate attempt to be all things to all people. So we have 25 separate action plans, one from each nation seeing how they can apply the laughable Lisbon agenda. In October these will be presented at some great economic chow down. The Commission will be keeping a beady on all the countries ensuring that they are doing what is expected of them, "there will be benchmarking, there will be scoreboards, we will describe the best practices and clearly define strengths and weaknesses". But of course there won't be "naming and shaming"as proposed by the Kok report. Thus undermining the whole approach. How can there possibly be bench marks or scorecards without anybody being named? Or maybe they will have private scorecards and benchmarks that ordinary people cannot see. This is of course complete rot.
The best and only way of really doing this is allowing countries to have a completely free hand in the taxation and industrial policy, and those with the most effective policies will prosper and those without won't. This in turn will; lead electorates in the failed countries to demand a better performance from their governments, in turn leading to the ejection of sclerotic policies and the implementation of the massive structural reforms certain continental countries are crying out for.
In all this of course the Commission itself is indeed the problem rather than the solution as it, through countless pettifogging regulations on industrial policy has made effective reform nigh on impossible, rendering the whole project which the Vice-President and wannabe extreme makeover applicant is so proud of, impotent.