Europe 2020 is a 10-year strategy proposed by the European Commission on 3 March 2010 for advancement of the economy of the European Union. It aims at "smart, sustainable, inclusive growth" with greater coordination of national and European policy. It follows the Lisbon Strategy for the period 2000–2010. On 26 March 2010, the European Council agreed on the key elements of the new strategy. President Herman Van Rompuy who chaired the meeting pointed out that the strategy sums up the European model of social market economy with a strong environmental dimension. The strategy elements were formally adopted on 17 June 2010. Europe 2020 puts forward three mutually reinforcing priorities: they offer a vision of Europe's social market economy for the 21st century. – Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation. – Sustainable growth: promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy. – Inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.
The EU needs to define where it wants to be by 2020. The strategy identifies five headline targets the European Union should take to boost growth and employment. These are:
* To raise the employment rate of the population aged 20–64 from the current 69% to at least 75%. * To achieve the target of investing 3% of GDP in R&D in particular by improving the conditions for R&D investment by the private sector, and develop a new indicator to track innovation. * To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels or by 30% if the conditions are right, increase the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20%, and achieve a 20% increase in energy efficiency. * To reduce the share of early school leavers to 10% from the current 15% and increase the share of the population aged 30–34 having completed tertiary from 31% to at least 40%. * To reduce the number of Europeans living below national poverty lines by 25%, lifting 20 million people out of poverty. These in turn are broken down into the following seven flagship initiatives: * A digital agenda for Europe: to speed up the roll-out of high-speed internet and reap the benefits of a digital single market for households and firms. * Innovation Union: to improve framework conditions and access to finance for research and innovation so as to strengthen the innovation chain and boost levels of investment throughout the Union. * Youth on the move: to enhance the performance of education systems and to reinforce the international attractiveness of Europe's higher education. * Resource efficient Europe: to help decouple economic growth from the use of resources, by decarbonizing the economy, increasing the use of renewable sources, modernizing the transport sector and promoting energy efficiency. * An industrial policy for the globalization era: to improve the business environment, especially for SMEs, and to support the development of a strong and sustainable industrial base able to compete globally. * An agenda for new skills and jobs: to modernize labor markets by facilitating labor mobility and the development of skills throughout the lifecycle with a view to increasing labor participation and better matching labor supply and demand. * European platform against poverty: to ensure social and territorial cohesion such that the benefits of growth and jobs are widely shared and people experiencing poverty and social exclusion are enabled to live in dignity and take an active part in society.
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 - R&D spending in Europe is below 2%, compared to 2.6% in the US and 3.4% in Japan, mainly as a result of lower levels of private investment. It is not only the...