Europe 2020 is the European Union’s ten-year growth strategy. It is about more than just overcoming the crisis which continues to afflict many of our economies. It is about addressing the shortcomings of our growth model and creating the conditions for a different type of growth that is smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive.
To render this more tangible, five key targets have been set for the EU to achieve by the end of the decade. These cover employment; education; research and innovation; social inclusion and poverty reduction; and climate/energy.
The strategy also includes seven ‘flagship initiatives’ providing a framework through which the EU and national authorities mutually reinforce their efforts in areas supporting the Europe 2020 priorities such as innovation, the digital economy, employment, youth,, industrial policy, poverty, and resource efficiency.
Europe 2020 will only be a success if it is the subject of a determined and focused effort at both the EU and national levels. At the EU level key decisions are being taken to complete the single market in services, energy and digital products, and to invest in essential cross-border links. At national level many obstacles to competition and job creation must be removed. But only if these efforts are combined and coordinated will they have the desired impact on growth and jobs.
That is why the delivery of Europe 2020 relies heavily on the new governance structures and processes that the EU has been putting in place since 2010. At the heart of these is the European Semester, a yearly cycle of economic policy coordination involving EU level policy guidance by the European Commission and Council, reform commitments by the Member States and country-specific recommendations prepared by the Commission and endorsed at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council. These recommendations should then be taken on board in the Member States’ policies and budgets.