In addition to the immediate problem of agreeing on a new Commission team, EU leaders face a tough longer-term challenge at their summit in Brussels this week. They have to find a way to get the Lisbon agenda back on track if they are serious about creating a successful Europe by 2010.

As the formal presentation of the Kok report this week confirms, Lisbon isn't working. But views the remedies remain even more sharply divided than over the merits of some of the Commissioners-designate.

Europe's employers want a focus on growth and competitiveness, and reforms that will promote business start-ups, simplify regulation, and sanitise EU proposals to prevent negative effects on enterprise.

Through their UNICE lobby, they are calling for further liberalisation, for elimination of obstacles to cross-border provision of services, and for research policy to be tweaked towards boosting competitiveness.

They comment sourly on the "negative competitiveness impact" in EU environmental policies and reject the notion that further measures will promote competitiveness. And on the acutely sensitive topic of the labour market, their priority is job creation and integration of workers - via removal of "unnecessary constraints" linked to working time and temporary agency work.

In almost total contrast, the European...

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