Lisbon cannot be a cheap response that is used to hide the unwillingness to grant more powers to the EU. The mid-term review provides a good opportunity to return to simpler principles. The Lisbon process should focus on those areas where the added value of action at EU level is clear, such as the policy mix and the environment. The OMC has potential, but primarily in areas with low externalities, where national governments must undertake long term reforms, which must be adapted to the domestic context. In contrast, in areas characterised by strong externalities, the instruments the EU has at its disposal must be commensurate to its declared objectives, for otherwise the gap between ambitions and achievements will undermine its legitimacy.