The Europe 2020 Strategy
The Europe 2020 strategy is an economic programme of the European Union, designed to be implemented in the decade from 2010 to 2020. This strategy follows up on the so-called Lisbon Agenda that was pursued from 2000 to 2010. While the Lisbon Agenda had the objective of making the European Union “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world“, the new Europe 2020 strategy aims to generate “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth“ and to ensure a more effective coordination of the various national economies inside a united Europe.
The draft proposal of the European Commission, released on 3 March 2010, lists three priorities:
- Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation.
- Sustainable growth: promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy.
- Inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.
The programme emphasizes the importance of funding research and development, academic education and lifelong learning in order to stimulate growth, while simultaneously expressing its support for environment-friendly technologies and more effective techniques of social integration.
The more specific headline targets – meant to be broken down to the level of the individual member states – include the following:
- At least 75 % of the population aged 20-64 should be employed (against 69 % at present).
- 3 % of the EU’s GDP should be invested in research and development (against less than 2 % at present). This should mainly be achieved by improving the conditions for research and development in the private sector.
- Greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by at least 20 % (from the levels of 1990) and by 30 % wherever possible. The share of renewable energy sources in total energy consumption should be increased to 20%, and energy efficiency should be increased by 20 %.
- The share of early school leavers should be under 10 % (against 15 % now) and at least 40 % of the younger generation (aged 30-34) should have a tertiary education degree (versus 31 % at present).
- The number of Europeans living below their national poverty line should be reduced by 25% so that 20 million fewer people are at risk of poverty.