They do have plans for something like Falcon 9. First step is a "Grasshopper" like experimental rocket. Of course it is a joint European project, so the whole thing will move at a snail's pace. By the time they have their Grasshopper, SpaceX will have landed on Mars...
That's making the assumption that they actually WANT a space program, instead of a budget item that can be stretched out eternally but doesn't need results. Kind of like NASA and the SLS - as long as it never flies they're good. If it flies and fails, then they'll have to justify the money wasted in development, but they'll probably get more to work the kinks out. If it flies and succeeds, they're going to be forced to justify why it took so long and so much money, and why they don't have the next one in the pipeline to be ready for flight in 6 months. (Pulling out arbitrary time frame there.)
As long as they can delay, they're good.
Whereas Musk just keeps on going. It's remarkable what can happen once you've got one man basically deciding what's going to be done and on what schedule instead of an unaccountable committee, isn't it?
When opinion and reality conflict - guess which one is going to win in the long run.