At the European Council leaders’ meeting last week the commitment to plans for growth and jobs was reiterated, based on the ‘Compact for ‘Growth and Jobs’ that was agreed last June and the Europe 2020 growth strategy. 
The Council agreed that progress has been made, but also highlighted several areas where more effort is needed to facilitate a successful jobs and growth plan. These included, promoting research and innovation, adopting initiatives in boosting youth unemployment and creating a more integrated single market. 
Recently the Commission outlined twelve points of growth, as part of the Single Market Act II, that are based around transport and energy networks, citizen and business mobility, social entrepreneurship, cohesion and consumer confidence, and the digital economy.
The digital and network sectors have been especially targeted as an area where deeper economic integration can result in more jobs. 
The Act points to facilitating e-commerce in the EU by making payment services easier to use, more trustworthy and competitive, addressing a key underlying cause of lack of investment in high speed broadband connection. 
For example  its civil engineering costs, and to make electronic invoicing standard in public procurement procedures which is a proven money-saver. 
A public consultation has already been taken on the roll out of high-speed internet infrastructure, looking at cumbersome red tape, reuse of existing infrastructure and better coordination of civil engineering works. 
This is deemed as important as  this will help the EU in handing out its most significant boost to fast broadband, in helping companies to be free of stupid costs associated with bad planning processes and duplicated infrastructure.  For example research from the EU reveals, in Germany alone, one telecom company faces a situation of 8,000 unprocessed permits. In the face of that, it's no wonder that new networks aren't rolling out fast enough and often enough
In the next few weeks the Commission is expected to come forward with a new proposal on regulations and recommendations for the digital industry’s future. 
Tax policy should also contribute to fiscal consolidation say the Commission, and discussions continue on the proposals  energy and common consolidated corporate taxes that were suggested in June .In addition to the 10 Eurozone countries that have been given approval by Brussels for their ideas of a small levy on financial trading. 
An EU official said: “There have been proposals by the Commission that we can look at reforming energy and corporate taxes. We expect that at the December Council meeting that there will be further discussions on this, following a conclusion report  that will outline what the substance of the proposals will be, to be compiled by a tax working group.” 
Growth in international trade was also pinpointed at the leaders’ meeting, it is hoped that a  free trade deal with Canada would be completed by the end of this year back in June, but there has been some opposition in Canada over the value of it. 
There appears to be more goodwill over a prospective deal with Singapore, negotiations are ongoing, in what would be the first deal of its kind between an EU member state nation and an country from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  “The most talked about free trade deal has been the one between the EU and the US and the High Level Working Group, which involves both parties,  are proceeding with negotiations. These talks are aimed to start negotiation on an agreement including trade and also to increase investment for next year” An EU official added. 
“We have been involved in talks with the Japanese and there have been preliminary exercises to try and establish the scope of a free trade agreement, and the Commission continues to negotiate with the Japanese government. There have been further talks with reference to the Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia and further scope exercises with Morocco and Tunisia.” 
In March the leaders first discussed the usage of project bonds to create demand from the capital debt markets, and to attract long-term investors to infrastructure to add to their portfolios.  The basic principle is to use the EU budget to enable public banks, in this case the EIB, to engage in limited risk-sharing with the private sector. In this way, the EU budget can be used more effectively and achieve major leverage, and in July both the European Parliament and Council adopted a proposal for a pilot phase of the initiative. 
This is due to be launched this autumn, bringing additional investments for pilot projects in key transport, energy and broadband infrastructure. Negotiations are currently being finalised with the EIB and the resulting agreement is expected to be approved by the Commission and the EIB at the end of October. According to EU sources, and based on an expected multiplier of 15-20, the budget of EUR230m could generate investments of up to EUR4.5 billion. 
Fabian Zuleeg, chief economist at the European Policy Centre was not so optimistic after last week‘s talks: “First of all I do not think that the leaders placed enough emphasis on jobs and growth, and even though it was reviewed, it was a seen as a side issue.” 
“What I think should happen as planned the structural funds for each country should be reused, looking at the specifics and negatives of the crises and in particular on the crises countries. We need to encourage investment from the private sector, and to do that we need stable conditions for investment and provide credit. I fully appreciate that this will take time to do.”  This week the current deficit figures for 2011 were released and for the all member states of the EU the average stood at -4.4% of GDP, a decrease of 2.1% from 2010. This may please budget hawks, but during the same period unemployment has increased, and growth has flat lined and eventually has moved into negative figures, which may lend weight to the argument that austerity alone has not worked. 
“I would say that so far Europe has gone too far down the austerity route, its been about cutting spending too much and not looking at structural reform.” Zuleeg explained. “We have to realise that some of these countries are cutting budgets that will effect their future such as education, for the crises countries we should produce investment and future growth, they need help and cannot do this by themselves.”