The key document on the Strategy is the Commission’s March 2010 communication “Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, which is based on a Commission consultation document issued in November 2009 and a subsequent public consultation. The Europe 2020 strategy builds on the Lisbon Strategy and is intended to safeguard the growth and competitiveness of the EU. It is based on five measurable targets to be met in the EU by 2020:
- to increase the employment rate of the population aged 20–64 to 75%;
- to invest 3% of GDP in R&D;
- to reduce energy consumption by 20%, to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix to 20% and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, i.e. the “20/20/20” targets;
- to increase the share of the population aged 30–34 having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40% and to reduce the number of early school leavers to less than 10%;
- to reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by 25%, thus lifting at least 20 million people out of poverty or social exclusion.
The main targets are linked to seven flagship initiatives setting out goals and tools for delivering them at both Community and Member State level. The Commission presented all the flagship initiatives by the end of January 2011.
In April 2010, the European Commission proposed integrated guidelines for economic policies to assist the Member States in setting their national targets. The June 2010 European Council adopted the Europe 2020 Strategy as a whole and called on Member States to finalise their national targets. As from 2011, the implementation of the Strategy will be more closely coordinated with economic policies in the framework of a “European Semester”, bringing together the Stability and Growth Pact and the Europe 2020 Strategy (pdf, link to the European Commission website).
The Europe 2020 Strategy is being implemented at national level by means of National Reform Programmes in which each Member State defines measures at national level aimed at achieving the Europe 2020 targets. The National Reform Programmes will be updated annually based on the European Semester schedule.