USA in terms of income level and competitive strength. Comparing European incomc per capita with US standards shows that GDP per in- habitant of the Euro-zone amounts to only 71% of that in the USA. Taking productivity (GDP per hour worked) as a benchmark, howev- er, which is more importam for international competitiveness, reveals a significantly smaller difference of 9%. Neverthcless, it should be noted that, since 1995, productivity has seen a less positive development in Europe than in the USo Such global comparisons ought, however, to take into account the special elements of the different models which are not normally ex- pressed in quantitative analyses. GDP as a measure of the standard of living, for example, ignores the non-monetary value of free time - an element that explains a large part of Europe's lag behind the USA. The rest of the difference consists more or less in the underutilization of labour (as a result of higher unemployment and a lower labour partic- ipation rate), which itself largely sterns from a lack of economic dy- namlsm. All of this suggests that Europe should not measure itself against the standards of other countries alone. Factors arising inheremly from its own past (for example, productivity and social cohesion) are of funda- mental importance, and these would make more appropriate bench- marks against which the balance sheet of the Lisbon Strategy could be monitored, assessed and implemented. Economic Growth and Policy Mix in the EU As a rule, economic growth facilitates the achievement of most oth- er goals of economic poliey and cushions the impacts of reforms. Reaehing the Lisbon target of 3% growth per year, which was chosen partly with this in mind, necessitates eareful use of all levers of econom- ic policy at both national and international levels. Current EU policy, which has been based for years upon the "Broad Economie Poliey Guidelines", lacks a suffieient focus on growth. Fi- nance ministers and the European Central Bank are responsiblc for the targets of government spending and inflation, but there is no authority responsible for delivering the targets for growth as set out in the Lis- bon Strategy. When these targets conflict, budget and price stability take priority. Europe's persistent slump in growth, which followed the collapse of the world economy in 2001, was caused primarily by a weakness in do- mestic demand. The policy postulated in the "Broad Economic Policy Guidelines" could not react decisively enough in the short term to the challenges of the economic situation and the labour market and so failed to counter the weakness in demand. The policy mix set out in 8