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Europe 2020: European Commission proposes new economic strategy for Europe
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03 March 2010

The European Commission has launched today the Europe 2020 Strategy to get out of the crisis and prepare EU economy for the next decade. The Commission identifies three key drivers for growth, to be implemented through concrete actions at EU and national levels: smart growth (fostering knowledge, innovation, education and digital society), sustainable growth (making our production more resource efficient and greener, while boosting our competitiveness) and inclusive growth (raising participation in the labour market, skills acquisition and the fight against poverty). This battle for growth and jobs requires ownership at the highest political levels and mobilisation from all actors across Europe. Five targets are set which define where the EU should be by 2020 and against which progress can be tracked. The Europe 2020 Strategy will set the framework for EU negotiations over the next few years on issues such as the EU budget review, the Common Agricultural Policy, Cohesion Policy and EU funding arrangements post-2013.

President Barroso said, "Europe 2020 is about what we need to do today and tomorrow to get the EU economy back on track. The crisis has exposed fundamental issues and unsustainable trends that we can not ignore any longer. Europe has a growth deficit which is putting our future at risk. We must decisively tackle our weaknesses and exploit our many strengths. We need to build a new economic model based on knowledge, low-carbon economy and high employment levels. This battle requires mobilisation of all actors across Europe."

Progress towards the Europe 2020 objectives will be measured against five representative headline EU-level targets, which EU Members will be asked to translate into national targets reflecting starting points:

-       75 % of the population aged 20-64 should be employed.

-       3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D.

-       The "20/20/20" climate/energy targets should be met.[i]

-       The share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a degree or diploma. .

-       20 million less people should be at risk of poverty.[ii]

In order to meet the targets, the Commission proposes a Europe 2020 agenda consisting of a series of flagship initiatives. Implementing these initiatives is a shared priority, and action will be required at all levels: EU-level organisations, Member States, local and regional authorities.

-    Innovation union  - re-focussing R&D and innovation policy on major challenges, while closing the gap between science and market to turn inventions into products. As an example, the Community Patent could save companies 289€ million each year.

-       Youth on the move - enhancing the quality and international attractiveness of Europe's higher education system by promoting student and young professional mobility. As a concrete action, vacancies in all Member States should be more accessible through out Europe and professional qualifications and experience properly recognised.

-       A digital agenda for Europe - delivering sustainable economic and social benefits from a Digital Single Market based on ultra fast internet. All Europeans should have access to high speed internet by 2013.

-       Resource-efficient Europe - supporting the shift towards a resource efficient and low-carbon economy. Europe should stick to its 2020 targets in terms of energy production, efficiency and consumption. This would result in €60 billion less in oil and gas imports by 2020.

-       An industrial policy for green growth – helping the EU's industrial base to be competitive in the post-crisis world, promoting entrepreneurship and developing new skills. This would create millions of new jobs ;

-       An agenda for new skills and jobs – creating the conditions for modernising labour markets, with a view to raising employment levels and ensuring the sustainability of our social models, while baby-boomers retire ; and

-       European platform against poverty - ensuring economic, social and territorial cohesion by helping the poor and socially excluded and enabling them to play an active part in society.

[i] Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels (or by 30%, if the conditions[i] are right); increase the share of renewable energy sources in our final energy consumption to 20%; and a 20% increase in energy efficiency.

[ii] At present around 80 million Europeans are at risk of poverty.

These seven flagship initiatives will commit both the EU and its Members, such as the United Kingdom. EU-level instruments, notably the single market, financial levers and external policy tools, will be fully mobilised to tackle bottlenecks and deliver the Europe 2020 goals. Economic, social and territorial cohesion will remain at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy to ensure that all energies and capacities are mobilised and focused on the pursuit of the strategy's priorities. Cohesion policy and its structural funds, while important in their own right, are key delivery mechanisms to achieve the priorities of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Member States and regions.

Working together towards these objectives is essential. In our interconnected economies, growth and employment will only return if all EU Members move in this direction, taking account of their specific circumstances. All national, regional and local authorities should implement the partnership, closely associating parliaments, as well as social partners and representatives of civil society, contributing to the elaboration of national reform programmes as well as to its implementation.

The ambition of Europe 2020 means that leadership and accountability must be taken to a new level. The Commission invites EU Heads of State and Government to take ownership for this new Strategy and endorse it at the Spring European Council. The role of the European Parliament will also be enhanced.


Contacts: Rachael Langlands-Brown, Press Officer at the EC Office in Wales: Tel. 029 20895024 or

Further information :

Last update: 22/12/2010  |Top