Policy context

Europe 2020: its aims and history

The Europe 2020 strategy designed as the successor to the Lisbon strategy is the EU's common agenda for the next decade. It puts emphasis on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that can overcome the structural weaknesses in Europe's economy, improve its competitiveness and productivity and underpin a sustainable social market economy.

The Europe 2020 targets were initially defined in the Commission communication ‘ Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth' published on 3 March 2010. On 17 June 2010 they were adopted in the European Council conclusions.

The key areas of the strategy are expressed in the form of five headline targets on EU level.  The presence of measurable targets, capable of reflecting the diversity of Member States situations and based on sufficiently reliable data for assessing progress, is a clear strength of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Additional information can be found on the European Semester Website.

Flagship initiatives of Europe 2020

In addition to the Europe 2020 headline targets, the Commission adopted seven flagship initiatives in order to drive progress towards the Europe 2020 goals.

Within each initiative, both the EU and national authorities have to coordinate their efforts so they are mutually reinforcing. Most of these initiatives have been presented by the Commission in 2010.

Smart growth

  • Digital agenda for Europe
  • Innovation Union
  • Youth on the move

Sustainable growth

Inclusive growth

  • An agenda for new skills and jobs
  • European platform against poverty