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The EU is committed to helping Europe remain at the forefront of the global economy and seeks to play its part in creating the right conditions to achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy, which aims to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The Europe 2020 Strategy, and the complementary European Employment Strategy, are driven by the need to tackle unemployment. The EU is acutely aware that many lives are ruined by joblessness. In addition, getting more people into work will help European society cope with demographic changes - taxes collected from people in work are needed to fund rising pension and healthcare costs.

To that end, the Europe 2020 Strategy aims to achieve an employment rate - the proportion of Europe's working-age population in employment - of 75 % by 2020. One particular challenge is that of youth unemployment, which is tackled by a range of measures such as the Youth Guarantee, the Youth Employment Initiative, and the Youth Employment Package.

Cohesion policy as one of the biggest items on the EU’s budget is an important funding instrument to contribute to achieving the Europe 2020 goals. In order to ensure that investments are appropriately focused, the Commission and Member States have determined 11 thematic objectives for the Structural and Cohesion Funds which work towards the Europe 2020 goals.