Europe 2020 Strategy in a Nutshell

In March 2010 the Europen Commission presented the proposal for the Europe 2020 Strategy. The final decision on Europe 2020 was taken by the European Council in March and June 2010.

The key elements of Europe 2020 Strategy:

  • the new strategy’s basic goal to stimulate a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, which is mutually reinforcing with the (economic, social and territorial) cohesion one. Macroeconomic stability and sound public budgets are seen as prerequisites for growth;
  • five EU headline targets related to innovation (raising combined public and private investment levels in this sector to 3% of GDP), the employment rate (aiming to raise to 75% the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64), climate change (the 20-20-20 targets), education (reducing school drop-out rates to less than 10% and by increasing the share of 30-34 years old having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40%) and poverty (lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion);
  • the targets have to be flexibly adapted to different initial country circumstances and to be set according to Member States' national decision-making procedures;
  • seven flagship initiatives to catalyse progress under each priority theme: "Innovation Union", "Youth on the move", "A digital agenda for Europe", "Resource efficient Europe", "An industrial policy for the globalisation era", "An agenda for new skills and jobs", "European platform against poverty";
    • a governance mechanism based on a series of integrated (macro, micro and employment) guidelines, country reporting and the issuing of recommendations by the European Council, when it yearly reviews the state of play. Monitoring at EU level will be based on a series of indicators, to be identified, among which productivity will be given a special role;

    • the need for stronger economic policy coordination, based on the instruments set by the Lisbon Treaty, is acknowledged. To this aim, reporting on the National Reform Programmes will be closely aligned with reporting on the Stability and Growth Pact, although the two processes will remain separate and the second one.

    • the support of all EU policies, including the CAP and cohesion policy, will need to support to the new strategy. At the EU level, the flagship initiatives will coordinate the use of different EU instruments, while innovative financial instruments will be set in cooperation with the EIB.

The CoR contributed to the debate on Europe 2020 with an Own Initiative Opinion, adopted by the Plenary Session in December 2009. To get viewpoints from the ground before drafting it, the CoR organized a Consultation of European cities and regions on a New Strategy for Sustainable Growth. It was followed by the 2010 CoR consultaion "Your Voice on Europe 2020".

Read more on detailed steps before and after the adoption of Europe 2020 - EU Cities & Regions on the Road to EUROPE 2020

For more information about the previous EU Strategy for growth and jobs: 2000-2010 - The "Lisbon Strategy" in short