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Europe 2020: a strategy for European Union growth

The Commission proposes a new political strategy, ‘Europe 2020’, to support employment, productivity and social cohesion in Europe. The European Union (EU) currently faces a moment of transformation, resulting mainly from globalisation, climate change and demographic ageing. In addition, the 2008 financial crisis has challenged the social and economic progress made by EU countries. The economic recovery which started in 2010 must be accompanied by a series of reforms in order to guarantee the sustainable development of the EU in the coming decade.

ACT

Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2010 - Europe 2020 A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth [COM(2010) 2020 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The Commission presents the strategy which should enable the European Union (EU) to achieve growth that is:

  • smart, through the development of knowledge and innovation;
  • sustainable, based on a greener, more resource efficient and more competitive economy;
  • inclusive, aimed at strengthening employment, and social and territorial cohesion.

In addition, the Commission proposes a series of targets to be achieved by 2020:

  • 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 EU 2020 programme

The Commission presents seven flagship initiatives to be put in place at European level and in EU countries:

  • 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, 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, and to follow the Open Method of Coordination 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.

Introduction of the strategy

The strategy is to be presented through 10 ‘Europe 2020’ integrated guidelines adopted by the June 2010 European Council. They are to replace the current 24 employment guidelines and the broad economic policy guidelines.

The Council may also address policy recommendations to EU countries on economic and budget matters, and all of the thematic areas covered by the strategy.

A substantial part of the strategy is to be implemented by the national, regional and local authorities of the EU countries, associating national parliaments, social partners and civil society. Actions to raise awareness are to be conducted among European citizens.

The Commission shall be responsible for monitoring progress. It shall present yearly reports, including reports on the achievements of the stability and convergence programmes.

RELATED ACTS

Communication of 30 May 2012 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank: Action for stability, growth and jobs [COM (2012) 299 final].
Following the economic crisis, this Communication explores both the role of the EU and the role of EU countries in a new growth initiative, intended to put the EU economy back on a sound footing. The Commission suggests that the EU needs to tap into: external sources of growth; the potential of EU funding of the growth that Europe needs; and the growth potential of the Economic and Monetary Union, of the Internal Market, and of human capital.

Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [Official Journal L 308 of 24.11.2010].

Council Recommendation 2010/410/EU of 13 July 2010 on broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union [Official Journal L 191 of 23.7.2010].

Conclusions of the Brussels European Council  of 25 and 26 March 2010.
The European Council has approved the main aspects of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy for jobs and growth.

Last updated: 28.01.2013

See also

  • For more information, consult the European Commission’s website devoted to the Europe 2020 strategy
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