The Lisbon Strategy (also the Lisbon process or the Lisbon Agenda) is a passed program by an extraordinary summit of European leaders in Lisbon in March 2000 that has the aim of the EU within a decade, until 2010, to be the most competitive, dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. With this strategy, the EU intends to be a role model for the development of the whole world, concerning aims like sustainable progress in economic, social and environmental issues. The Lisbon strategy wants to increase productivity and accelerate innovation, by various EU policy measures. As a benchmark the EU pays attention to the rivals, Japan and especially the United States. Main fields of this program are economic, social and environmental regeneration and sustainability in the areas of Innovation as an engine for economic growth (based on Joseph Schumpeter), the “knowledge society”, social cohesion (alignment), and also environmental awareness. To implement these social political objectives the European Council established, in Nice the European Social Agenda in December 2000. At a meeting on 22nd and 23rd of march in 2005 the European Council reaffirmed the Lisbon objectives of growth. But also the gap to the United States had increased during the last five years, therefore they avoided to make specific targets. Each Member State should reform their own national programs.
But on the other hand the heavy affected education sector expressed critics to the principles of the strategy: The EU is accused of using the strategy to penetrate into areas in which they are in accordance to the constitution not authorized (this is particularly education). It is feared that education is abused for short-term, exclusive economic purposes. And also countries outside the European Union express their critics, because the strategy also effects non-EU countries massively and their demanded approach is too aggressive.