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Europe 2020: the European Union strategy for growth and employment

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Europe 2020: the European Union strategy for growth and employment

The Europe 2020 strategy promotes smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The aim is to improve the competitiveness of the EU whilst maintaining its social market economy model and improving significantly the effective use of its resources.


Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2010 - Europe 2020 A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth [COM(2010) 2020 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The economic and financial crisis has revealed the structural weaknesses of the European economy and generated rapid deterioration of the economic and social environment. The aim of the Europe 2020 strategy is to make sure that the economic revival is supported by a series of reforms in order to build solid foundations for growth and job creation in the European Union by 2020, taking account of the long-term challenges of globalisation, pressure on resources and ageing.

The Europe 2020 strategy should enable the European Union to achieve growth that is:

  • smart, through the development of knowledge and innovation;
  • sustainable, based on a greener, more resource efficient and more competitive economy;
  • inclusive, aimed at strengthening employment and social and territorial cohesion.

The EU has set itself five major targets for this ambition to be achieved by 2020:

  • increasing the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 to at least 75 %;
  • investing 3 % of gross domestic product in research and development;
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 %, increasing the share of renewable energies to 20 % and increasing energy efficiency by 20 %;
  • reducing the school drop out rate to less than 10 % and increasing the proportion of tertiary degrees to at least 40 %;
  • reducing the number of people threatened by poverty or social exclusion by 20 million.

The Europe 2020 strategy targets are also supported byseven flagship initiatives at European level and in EU countries: the Innovation Union; Youth on the move; the Digital Agenda for Europe; a Resource-efficient Europe; an industrial policy for the globalisation era; the agenda for new skills and jobs; the European Platform against Poverty.

At European level, the single market, the European Union budget and the European external policy are additional levers in achieving the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Implementation of the strategy under the European Semester

The Europe 2020 strategy is implemented through six broad economic policy guidelines of Member States and the Union (Council recommendation of 13 July 2010) and four guidelines for employment policies of Member States (Council decision of 21 October 2010), replacing those of the Lisbon strategy (see Related Acts).

The Member States have been invited to translate the Europe 2020 targets into national targets. Every year, in April, they publish their national reform programmes in which they set out the actions undertaken to achieve these national targets.

The Commission shall be responsible for monitoring progress. It presents an annual growth review, assesses the reform agendas of Member States and submits specific recommendations for each country.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth ( COM(2014) 130 final - Corrigendum relating to Annexes 1 to 3 ( COM(2014) 130 final/2 ) [Not published in the Official Journal].

Four years after the launch of the Europe 2020 strategy, this communication aims to take stock of the first years of implementation of the strategy.

The Commission has launched a public consultation intended to compile the opinions of all stakeholders in the context of the mid-term review of the strategy.

Communication of 30 May 2012 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank: Action for stability, growth and jobs [ COM (2012) 299 final ].

Following the economic crisis, this Communication explores both the role of the EU and the role of EU countries in a new growth initiative, intended to put the EU economy back on a sound footing. The Commission suggests that the EU taps into: external sources of growth; the potential of EU funding of the growth that Europe needs; and the growth potential of the Economic and Monetary Union, of the Internal Market, and of human capital.

Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [Official Journal L 308 of 24.11.2010].

Council Recommendation 2010/410/EU of 13 July 2010 on broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union [Official Journal L 191 of 23.7.2010].

Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 25 and 26 March 2010. The European Council has approved the main aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth.

Last updated: 10.06.2014