Magazine article European Social Policy

Europe 2020 : Uneven Progress on Strategic Targets

Magazine article European Social Policy

Europe 2020 : Uneven Progress on Strategic Targets

Article excerpt

Progress made in achieving the five targets of the Europe 2020' strategy is proving unequal. In some key areas, such as in research and development (R&D), renewable energy or tertiary education, real progress has been made. Conversely, progress has been slow when it comes to boosting employment and fighting poverty as a result of the economic crisis. Such are the conclusions of a report published by Eurostat, on 1 October, presenting past trends and latest data for each of the headline indicators of the strategy at EU and member state levels.

The Europe 2020' strategy, adopted by the European Council in June 2010, aims at establishing a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy with high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. The key objectives of the strategy are expressed in the form of five targets on employment, R&D, climate change and energy, education, and poverty and social exclusion. These targets are monitored on the basis of headline indicators that Eurostat compiles and publishes(1).

Employment: The first key objective of the Europe 2020' strategy is to increase employment. The target to be reached by 2020 is an employment rate of 75% among those aged 20 to 64 in the EU27. This rate rose from 66.6% in 2000 to 70.3% in 2008 and then, following the economic crisis, fell to 68.6% in 2011.

R&D: The second key objective is to increase investment in R&D. The target to be reached in the EU27 by 2020 is a 3% share of GDP invested in R&D. This share has grown from 1.86% in 2000 to 2% in 2010.

Climate and energy: The third key objective refers to climate change and energy, and has three elements. For greenhouse gas emissions, the target for 2020 for the EU27 is a reduction of 20% compared with the level of 1990. These emissions have decreased steadily since 1990, with a sharp drop in the period 2008 to 2010 - a period corresponding to the economic crisis. …

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