What is the opposite of synergy? Why do we need to pose the question with regard to the European Union and its member states?


In EU growth and prosperity through EU2020? I collected some blog posts in English about the national political leaders (European Council) and their ambiguous relationship to their own Europe 2020 strategy for growth, competitiveness and employment.

Instead of proudly claiming ownership of the common strategy, more often than not they seem forgetful.

On both sides of the spring European Council, the Issues Paper (29 February 2012) from the EUCO president Herman Van Rompuy and the follow-up note from the Danish presidency (19 March 2012; 7824/12) managed to skirt the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Single Market Act

For some reason heads of government in at least some of the EU member states seem quite happy to call for more regarding the internal market (single market). One example is the letter A plan for growth in Europe (20 February 2012) from twelve prime ministers ahead of the spring European Council.

As a fresh example, after meeting the British PM David Cameron, the prime minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen underlined the common will of the two countries to improve the single market and to create the digital single market.

The single market (internal market) is obviously related to the EU, but still the memories of the leaders seem to be selective.


The EU already has a strategy to improve the internal market, including the creation of a digital single market. It is called the Single Market Act (SMA), with its twelve ”levers” to boost growth and strengthen confidence COM(2011) 206.

If the national governments want to raise the standards of the public debate, they need to start discussing specifics of proposed reforms or make new and better proposals of their own openly, instead of making vacuous calls for improvements already underway.

Even when the national leaders have repeatedly, through EUCO, adopted programmes and offered guidelines on strategies such as Europe 2020 and the Single Market Act, when outside Brussels they often act as if ignorant of the existence of their own reform strategies.

As long as the political leaders do not claim ownership and put force behind the programmes intended to create a dynamic Europe of synergies, we should ask them to suggest their preferred antonym for synergy.

Ralf Grahn
EU affairs expert, speaker and lecturer