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EU 2020 Strategy

Europe 2020:  Europe’s  growth  strategy

Europe 2020 is the European Union’s ten-year growth strategy. It is about more than just overcoming the current crisis. It is about addressing the shortcomings of the European growth model and creating the conditions for a different type of growth that is smarter (through the development of knowledge and innovation), more sustainable (based on a greener, more resource efficient and more competitive economy) and more inclusive (aimed at strengthening employment and social and territorial cohesion).

To render this more tangible, five key targets have been set for the EU to achieve by the end of the decade:

  • increasing the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 to 75 %;
  • investing 3 % of gross domestic product (GDP) in research and development;
  • reducing carbon emissions by 20 % (and by 30 % if conditions permit), increasing the share of renewable energies by 20 % and increasing energy efficiency by 20 %;
  • reducing the school drop out rate to less than 10 % and increasing the proportion of tertiary degrees to 40 %;
  • reducing the number of people threatened by poverty by 20 million.

The strategy also includes seven ‘flagship initiatives’ providing a framework through which the EU and national authorities mutually reinforce their efforts in areas supporting the Europe 2020 priorities:

  • the Innovation Union, to support the production of innovative products and services, in particular concerning climate change, energy efficiency, health and the ageing population;
  • the Youth on the move initiative, to enhance the performance of education systems, non-formal and informal learning, student and researcher mobility, but also young people’s entry to the labour market;
  • the Digital Agenda for Europe initiative, to promote the creation of a digital single market, characterised by a high level of trust and a clear legal framework. Furthermore, fast and subsequently ultra fast internet should be accessible to the population as a whole;
  • the Resource-efficient Europe initiative, to support the sustainable management of resources and the reduction of carbon emissions, while maintaining the competitiveness of the European economy and its energy security;
  • the industrial policy for the globalisation era initiative, to help businesses to overcome the economic crisis, integrate into world trade and adopt more environmentally-friendly production methods;
  • the agenda for new skills and jobs, to improve employment and the sustainability of social models. The aim is to encourage the strategies of flexicurity (labour market flexibility& security), worker and student training, but also gender equality and the employment of older workers;
  • the European Platform against Poverty, to increase cooperation between EU countries in the areas of social exclusion and social protection. The objective of the Platform is to be the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU, and the social inclusion of people experiencing poverty.

Europe 2020 will only be a success if it is the subject of a determined and focused effort at both the EU and national levels. At the EU level key decisions are being taken to complete the single market in services, energy and digital products, and to invest in essential cross-border links. At national level many obstacles to competition and job creation must be removed. But only if these efforts are combined and coordinated will they have the desired impact on growth and jobs.

That is why the delivery of Europe 2020 relies heavily on the new governance structures and processes that the EU has been putting in place since 2010. At the heart of these is the European Semester, a yearly cycle of economic policy coordination involving EU level policy guidance by the European Commission and Council, reform commitments by the Member States and country-specific recommendations prepared by the Commission and endorsed at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council. These recommendations should then be taken on board in the Member States' policies and budgets.

Last Updated Monday, 10 June 2013