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Europe 2020: the European Union strategy for growth and employment



Communication (COM(2010) 2020 final) – Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth


The Europe 2020 strategy aims to ensure that the economic revival of the European Union (EU) following the economic and financial crisis is supported by a series of reforms in order to build solid foundations for growth and job creation by 2020. While addressing the structural weaknesses of the EU’s economy and economic and social issues, the strategy also takes account of the longer-term challenges of globalisation, pressure on resources and ageing.


  • The Europe 2020 strategy should enable the EU 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 by 7flagship 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; and the European Platform against Poverty.
  • At European level, the single market, the EU 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 broad economic policy guidelines of EU countries and the EU (Council recommendation (EU) 2015/1184) and guidelines for employment policies of EU countries (Council Decision (EU) 2015/1848).
  • The EU countries 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 European Commission is responsible for monitoring progress. It presents an annual growth review, assesses the reform agendas of EU countries and submits specific recommendations for each country.


Communication from the Commission - Europe 2020 A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2010) 2020 final, 3.3.2010)


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, 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/2, 5.3.2014)

Communication 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, 30.5.2012)

Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 25 and 26 March 2010

Council Recommendation (EU) 2015/1184 of 14 July 2015 on broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and of the European Union (OJ L 192 of 18.7.2015, pp. 27-31)

Council Decision (EU) 2015/1848 of 5 October 2015 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States for 2015 (OJ L 268, 15.10.2015, pp. 28-32)

last update 07.02.2017