Europe 2020 Strategy

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In June 2010, the European Council adopted Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, which sets out a vision of Europe's social market economy for the 21st century.
The strategy contains five headline targets on employment; research and development; climate change and energy efficiency; education; and poverty reduction. The targets are to be achieved by 2020. In support of these targets, member states were encouraged to set national targets in their National Reform Programmes.

EU 2020 Headline Targets

Employment: aiming to raise to 75% the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64, including through the greater participation of young people, older workers and low-skilled workers and the better integration of legal migrants
Research & development: improving the conditions for research and development, in particular with the aim of raising combined public and private investment levels in this sector to 3% of GDP; the Commission will elaborate an indicator reflecting R&D and innovation intensity
Climate change & energy efficiency: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels; increasing the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 20%; and moving towards a 20% increase in energy efficiency
The EU is committed to taking a decision to move to a 30% reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels as its conditional offer with a view to a global and comprehensive agreement for the period beyond 2012, provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.
Education: improving education levels, in particular by aiming to reduce school drop-out rates to less than 10% and by increasing the share of 30-34 years old having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40% *see note1
Poverty reduction: promoting social inclusion, in particular through the reduction of poverty, by aiming to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion *see note 2

Source: European Council Conclusions, 17 June 2010
Seven flagship initiatives were developed to provide a framework for member states and the EU to work together in key areas to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The initiatives under smart growth are (1) the Digital Agenda for Europe, (2) Innovation Union and (3) Youth on the Move. The sustainable growth initiatives are (4) Resource Efficient Europe and (5) An Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era. Finally, the inclusive growth initiatives are (6) An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs and (7) European Platform against Poverty.
The European Platform against Poverty sets out actions to reach the EU headline poverty reduction target. While setting measures to tackle poverty are the responsibility of member states, the platform allows the EU play a co-ordinating role identifying best practice and mutual learning, setting up EU-wide rules and providing EU funds. A key commitment is the annual convention where stakeholders assess progress towards the EU headline poverty reduction target.
Stronger governance and monitoring systems were adopted to ensure the success of the Europe 2020 strategy. The governance system involves a revised calendar of reporting requirements and monitoring procedures (i.e. European Semester).

Europe 2020 in Ireland

*Note 1 - The European Council emphasises the competence of Member States to define and implement quantitative targets in the field of education.

*Note 2 - The population is defined as the number of persons who are at risk-of-poverty and exclusion according to three indicators (at-risk-of poverty; material deprivation; jobless household), leaving Member States free to set their national targets on the basis of the most appropriate indicators, taking into account their national circumstances and priorities.

Last modified:13/03/2013