Europe 2020

Launched by the European Commission in March 2010, following  the Lisbon Strategy, Europe 2020 is the EU's growth strategy for the coming decade. Its priorities are three-fold: smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, all aiming to promote stable progress, high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion, and to secure Europe´s position in the world.

A coherent multi-annual program, the strategy relies upon greater coordination of national and European policy. For decades EU policies have been developed in a strict EU framework primarily concentrated in Brussels. In spite of increasing European convergence important gaps remained between EU policy making and national policies and practices.

Europe 2020 focuses on bridging these gaps. It intends to commit Member States more closely to the EU, also in areas which until recently were exclusively national, and include participation of society at large.

The strategy sets five headline targets to be reached by 2020:

  • to raise the employment rate of the population aged 20–64 to 75%,
  • to achieve the target of investing 3% of EU's GDP in Research and Development (R&D) and innovation,
  • to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% or by 30% if the conditions are right, compared to 1990 levels, increase the share of renewable energy to 20%, and achieve 20% increase in energy efficiency,
  • to reduce school drop-out rates to 10% and increase the share of the population aged 30–34 having completed third level education to at least 40%,
  • to reduce the number of Europeans in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million.

To this end, each Member State set out specific medium-term budgetary strategies (a Stability or Convergence Programme), and a set of actions to be undertaken in areas such as employment, research, innovation, energy or social inclusion (a National Reform Programme). Every year in April these two documents are sent to the Commission for a thorough assessment.

Following this assessment the Commission delivers a set of 27 country-specific recommendations (in 2011 published on 7 June).

Country-specific recommendations 2011

The progress of the strategy is monitored in the framework of the "European semester", an annual cycle of economic and fiscal policy coordination which takes into consideration macro-economic factors, growth-enhancing reforms and public finances.

ESC & EESC Works

Search the CESlink documents' database for Europe 2020 opinions, reports and other documents of the national Economic and social councils in the EU (all EU languages) 



Evaluation of the National Reform Programme 2011-2014 – OKE, June 2011

Europe 2020 – The new Lisbon Strategy (own-initiative opinion) – OKE, April 2010