In March 2010, the European Commission unveiled its new ten-year strategy focusing on reviving the European economy. The strategy is entitled Europe 2020, and reforms and extends the previous Lisbon strategy through closer governance within the Union.
Why a Europe 2020 strategy?
While the crisis cancelled out years of economic and social progress and revealed structural weaknesses in the European economy, the world continues to evolve rapidly and long-term challenges such as globalisation, pressure on resources and ageing are intensifying.
The European Commission believes that these problems can be overcome, provided that Europe commits to a path of transformation which will make it a greener and more innovative market promoting social wellbeing.
The Europe 2020 strategy aims to develop "smart, sustainable and inclusive" growth based on greater coordination between national and European policies, highlighting three major priorities to strengthen the European economy:
- Develop an economy based on knowledge and innovation,
- Promote a greener, more competitive economy that is more efficient in its use of resources,
- Support a high-employment economy which fosters economic, social and territorial cohesion.
Goals of the Europe 2020 strategy
The main themes of the strategy are the promotion of low-carbon industries, investment in the development of new products, using the potential of the digital economy and the modernisation of education and training.
The Union has set 5 inter-related goals to guide and direct the progress made:
Employment: Jobs for 75% of 20-64-year olds compared with the current figure of 69%,
Research-development (R&D) and innovation: 3% of Gross Domestic Product to be allocated to R&D, in place of the current 2% which leaves the Union far behind the United States and Japan,
Climate change and energy: Reaffirming the European Union's goals to combat climate change (known as "20/20/20"), which are already amongst the most ambitious in the world:
- Reduction in greenhouse gases by 20% (or even 30% where conditions allow) in relation to 1990,
- 20% use of energy from renewable sources,
- 20% increase in energy efficiency,
Education: Improving education levels and reducing early school leaver rates to less than 10%, and raising the share of 30-34 year olds having gained a higher education diploma or equivalent study level to 40%,
Poverty and social exclusion: Proposal to reduce the poverty rate by 25%, which would equate to lifting 20 million people out of poverty.
Luxembourg 2020, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's national reform programme, constitutes a strategic plan to improve the competitiveness of the country and remove various obstacles to growth.
- The digital ecomony,
- Innovation and productivity,
- Efficient use of resources, particularly through a territorial, cross-disciplinary and integrative approach,
- Administrative simplification (single points of contact etc.) and supporting the development of SMEs,
- Using the full potential of the domestic market,
- Social cohesion and inclusion, and
- Gender equality as a cross-cutting goal (gender mainstreaming).
The above factors should constitute the structural basis of the national structural reform programme in the long-term.
These challenges and goals are inextricably linked. The digital revolution is making a huge impact on all aspects of society, particularly methods of disseminating and understanding knowledge. However, better levels of education improve employability, raising the employment rate which therefore helps to reduce poverty. A greater capacity for R&D and innovation capacity combined with an increasingly efficient use of resources improves competitiveness and fosters job creation.
The major efforts that will be implemented as part of Luxembourg 2020 should enable the country to emerge from the crisis stronger, and to guide its economy towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.