Europe Of Inovation – A Vision For 2020


“We need a strategy to help us come out stronger from the crisis and the road map for achieving this is our Europe 2020 strategy. This is the EU’s growth strategy for the future; a program to guide our economy towards new sources of sustainable growth and social cohesion, in order to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth –and high quality jobs for our young people.”

said José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, Bruxelles, 27 September 2010

Europe faces a moment of transformation. The crisis has wiped out years of economic and social progress and exposed structural weaknesses in Europe’s economy. In the meantime, the world is moving fast and long- term challenges –globalization, pressure on resources, ageing – intensify. The EU must now take charge of its future. Europe can succeed if it acts collectively, as a Union.

A Vision of Europe’s Social Market Economy for the 21st Century

The Europe 2020 Strategy is the European Union’s new socioeconomic strategy for the next ten years and was proposed by the Commission for two reasons. Firstly, the EU’s previous strategy (the Lisbon Strategy) had attracted a great deal of criticism. Secondly, Europe is currently in the throes of economic and financial crisis. The European Commission unveiled the priorities of the new strategy, with its five quantified objectives, in its communication dated 3 March 2010. At European level, seven flagship initiatives will be launched in order to achieve these objectives. At Member State level, each Member State will be required to present an annual programme of reforms based on integrated guidelines proposed by the Commission and adopted by the Council.

Objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy

… show how the EU can transform itself into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. In the Commission’s view, stronger economic governance will be required if lasting results are to be delivered quickly.

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. To this end, the Commission proposes the following EU headline targets:

  • 75 % of the population aged 20-64 should be employed.
  • 3% of the EU’s GDP should be invested in R&D.
  • The 20-20-20 climate and energy targets should be met.
  • The share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a tertiary degree.
  • 20 million less people should be at risk of poverty.

To ensure that each Member State tailors the Europe 2020 strategy to its particular situation, the Commission proposes that EU goals are translated into national targets and trajectories, where social partners, civil society and local and regional authorities, all have an important role to play in order to achieve them. Economic and social change can only succeed when everyone takes ownership of the reform effort. And Europe’s regions are at the forefront of these efforts, whether fighting climate change, creating green and sustainable jobs, investing in new technologies, or managing and using structural funds in imaginative and effective ways.

Flagship initiatives of the EU

At European level, the Commission unveiled seven flagship initiatives in 2010 to speed up progress under each of the strategy’s priorities and objectives. These initiatives will be binding on both the EU and the Member States.

  • Innovation  Union
  • Youth  on  the  move
  • A  digital  agenda  for  Europe
  • Resource-efficient  Europe
  • An  industrial  policy  for  the  globalization era
  • An  agenda  for  new  skills  and  jobs
  • European  platform  against  poverty

These seven flagship initiatives will commit both the EU and the Member States. EU-level instruments, notably the single market, financial levers and external policy tools, will be fully mobilized to tackle bottlenecks and deliver the Europe 2020 goals.


Ten integrated guidelines were put forward in order to form the framework for the strategy and reforms at Member State level.The first six guidelines cover economic policy in the broad sense of the term. The other four are known as employment guidelines.

National reform programs

From autumn 2010, the Member States will draw up national reform programs based on these guidelines, detailing the actions they intend to take within the framework of the new strategy and with an emphasis on the efforts needed to achieve national objectives.

  • Ensuring the quality and sustainability of public finances.
  • Addressing macroeconomic imbalances.
  • Reducing imbalances in the euro area.
  • Optimizing support for R&D and innovation, strengthening the knowledge triangle and unleashing the potential of the digital economy.
  • Improving resource efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Improving the business and consumer environment and modernizing the industrial base.
  • Increasing labor market participation and reducing structural  unemployment.
  • Developing  a skilled  workforce capable of  meeting labor  market needs, promoting high-quality jobs and lifelong learning.
  • Improving  the  performance  of  education  and  training  systems  at all levels and increasing participation in tertiary-level education.
  • Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty.
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