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In March 2010, the European Commission adopted a framework strategy for growth and jobs that succeeded the former Lisbon Strategy (Communication from the Commission ‘Europe 2020’ was published on 3 March 2010). ‘Europe 2020’ is an ambitious and comprehensive strategy for the exit of the EU Member States out of the economic crisis, ensuring the macroeconomic stability and the implementation of ambitious structural reforms. An essential part of the strategy is dedicated to the introduction of structural reforms for the mid- and long-term period. These reforms focus on the encouragement of sustainable public finance, the improvement of the growth potential and the achievement of five major objectives until 2020. The strategy provides for three priority aspects of growth in Europe, i.e. smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.


7 flagship initiatives


The document ‘Europe 2020’ has proposed seven flagship initiatives for which the goals and the EU level of action as well as the obligations of Member States have been identified:

A) Innovation Union: The aim is to update R&D and innovation policy in the EU and tackle new challenges which our society is facing due to climate change, energy efficiency, demographic change and health.

B) Youth on the move: The aim is to enhance the quality and the performance of Europe's higher education area, increase its international attractiveness and improve the employment situation of young people.

C) A digital agenda for Europe: The aim is to establish a Digital Single Market that would deliver new societal benefits and new information communication technology services, also with regard to boosting online trade in the EU.

D) Resource efficient Europe: The aim is to support a structural shift towards a low-carbon economy.

E) A new industrial policy: The aim is to encourage entrepreneurship, application of new technologies and the development of new products and services with high added value.

F) An Agenda for new skills and jobs: The aim is to create a modern, more responsive and inclusive labour market which will ensure more and better jobs.

G) European platform against poverty: The aim is to combat social exclusion of deprived groups so as to ensure economic, social and territorial cohesion.



The spring 2010 European Council endorsed seven flagship initiatives and agreed on five headline targets expected to guide both the action of the Member States and the Commission:

- to reach a 75% employment rate for women and men aged 20-64, including through the greater participation of youth, older workers and low skilled workers and the better integration of legal migrants;

- to improve possibilities for research and development, in particular with the aim of bringing combined public and private investment levels in this sector to 3% of GDP; the Commission will develop an indicator to reflect the R&D and innovation intensity;

- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels; to increase the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 20%; and to improve energy efficiency by 20%;

- to improve education levels, in particular by aiming to reduce school drop-out rates and by increasing the share of the population completing tertiary or equivalent education;

- to promote social inclusion, in particular through the reduction of poverty.


These five targets cover the main areas which are interrelated and where EU level action is indispensable. The achievement of these targets will help measure progress made in implementing the strategy. While some of these targets are reflected in EU legislation, the others are not and do not imply burden-sharing; therefore a common aim could be achieved only through an adequate policy at the national level and measures at the EU level.





Europe 2020 - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth


European Council - 25-26 March 2010 - Conclusions


European Council - 17 June 2010 - Conclusions





European Commission - Europe 2020