Smart growth means improving the EU's performance in:
education (encouraging people to learn, study and update their skills)
research/innovation (creating new products/services that generate growth and jobs and help address social challenges)
digital society (using information and communication technologies)
EU targets for smart growth include:
- 1. combined public and private investment levels to reach 3% of
EU's GDP as well as better conditions for R&D and Innovation
- 2. 75% employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 by
2020– achieved by getting more people into work, especially women,
the young, older and low-skilled people and legal migrants
- 3. better educational attainment – in particular:
– reducing school drop-out rates below 10%
– at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds with third level education
> All EU-level targets
How will the EU boost smart growth?
Through 3 flagship initiatives:
- 1. Digital agenda for Europe
Creating a single digital market based on fast/ultrafast internet and interoperable applications:
- by 2013: broadband access for all
- by 2020: access for all to much higher internet speeds (30 Mbps or above)
- by 2020: 50% or more of European households with internet connections above 100 Mbps.
- 2. Innovation Union
refocusing R&D and innovation policy on major challenges for our society like climate change, energy and resource efficiency, health and demographic change
strengthening every link in the innovation chain, from 'blue sky' research to commercialisation
- 3. Youth on the move
- helping students and trainees study abroad
equipping young people better for the job market
- enhancing the performance/international attractiveness of Europe's universities
- improving all levels of education and training (academic excellence, equal opportunities)
> All Europe 2020 flagship initiatives
Why does Europe need smart growth?
Europe's lower growth than its main competitors is largely
due to a productivity gap caused in part by:
- lower levels of investment in R&D and innovation
- insufficient use of information/communications technologies
- difficult access to innovation in some sections of society
- European firms currently account for just a quarter of the €2 trillion
global market for information/communication technologies.
- Slow implementation of high-speed internet affects
Europe's ability to innovate, spread knowledge and distribute goods and
services, and leaves rural areas isolated.
- Some 25% of European school children have poor
- Too many young people leave education/training without
- Numbers attaining medium-level qualifications are better, but the
qualifications often fail to match labour market needs
Under a third of Europeans aged 25-34 have a
university degree (40% in the US, over 50% in Japan)
European universities rank poorly in global terms – only 2
are in the world top 20 (see Shanghai index (ARWU))
- As Europeans live longer and have fewer children, fewer people in
work have to support higher numbers of pensioners, as
well as fund the rest of the welfare system.
- The number of over-60s is now increasing twice as fast as it did before
2007 – by some 2 million a year instead of 1 million previously.
- A better knowledge economy with more opportunities will help people
work longer and relieve the strain.