EUROPE 2020 STRATEGY (Encyclopedia)

A strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as defined by the European Commission’s communication, COM(2010) 2020 March, 3rd, 2010. During the public consultation hold by the Commission in order to outline the 2020 Strategy, the most significant issues were included in three main priorities to which the strategy itself should refer to, working through a thematic approach: smart growth, which means developing an economy based on growth and innovation; sustainable growth, for a more resource-efficient, greener and more competitive economy; inclusive growth, which could foster a high-employment economy together with an economic, social and territorial cohesion.
The strategy was adopted, under the form of integrated guidelines, during the European Council on June, 17th, 2010, (


The action of the European Union and of Member States must contribute to raise “the employment rate of women and men aged 20 … 64 to 75%, even throughout a higher participation of young people, elder and less qualified workers and a better integration of legal immigrants”; to get to more favorable conditions for research and development (R&D) in order to “reach 3% of the GDP with public and private combined investments”; to reduce by 20% greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels and at the same time by raising to 20% “the rate of renewable energy sources within the overall energy consumption” in order to get at the same time a 20% improvement in the energy efficiency (20-20-20 targets concerning climate/energy).
As for education, the chief aim is to lower the school dropout rate to below 10% and to raise the number of people aged 30 - 34 with a tertiary degree or diploma to at least 40%. As for social inclusion, the EU efforts focus on saving about 20 million of people from poverty and exclusion.
These targets must be nationally delivered by the National Reform Programs (NRP), a key national instrument in the strategy coordination, whose the political supervisor in Italy, for example, is the Minister of European Policies.

The European Commission’s Flagship Initiatives

National measures of the Member States must integrate with the so-called Flagship Initiatives of the EU, which have been presented by the Commission within the three main priorities.
Smart growth:
“Digital Agenda for Europe”, launched by the Commission on May, 22nd, 2010. It aims at stimulating the diffusion of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) so that families and businesses can benefit from a digital single market within 2020.
The Digital Agenda contains initiatives and actions useful to reach a digital single market promoting a free access to online services and contents; to improve the interoperability of ICT throughout the promotion of a better use of standards; to build a digital confidence by enhancing European citizens’ privacy in the use of ICT; to guarantee the citizens widespread broadband coverage with increasing speeds; to increase investments for a continuous research in ICT; to promote the knowledge of ICT in order to encourage the use of it among the citizens; to boost a smart use of ICT to face the incoming challenges of society like the reduction in the energy consumptions.
Member States have to elaborate operating strategies for a faster internet access and to
arrange a legislative framework which would allow a limited upgrading cost of the networks.
“Youth on the move”, launched on September, 16th, 2010, aims at assisting young people in the pursuit of the first work experience, helping them to develop new skills, key competencies and qualifications. This initiative can be summarized in different actions: the launching of a dedicated Youth on the Move website providing useful information; the development of a pilot project: ‘Your first EURES job’, which offers advisory and assistance in the job searching as well as financial support. This instrument is managed by EURES, a framework network which evaluates the free mobility of workers. Furthermore, the initiative aims at creating a student lending facility in cooperation with the European Investment Bank; adopting an alternative global and multi-dimensional university ranking system; promoting a Youth on the Move card which will ensure young people discounts and services; creating an “European Vacancy Monitor” which provides information about available jobs all across Europe; a new European Progress Micro-finance facility to encourage young entrepreneurs; a Member States’ guarantee assuring that all young people are in a job or further education within six months after leaving school; an European Skills Passport, based on the existing elements of Europass, the online European resume.
Member States must set up in their own country National Qualifications Framework making at the same time recommendations, orienteering and traineeships.
“The Innovation Union”, launched on October, 6th, 2010, is the first integrated strategy to strengthen European Research and Development thorough specific public investments, supporting private sector and removing obstacles to the mobility of researchers’ ideas by reinforcing each constituent parts of the innovation process: from the early researches to the sale of the results. The Europe 2020 target aims at raising investment in Research and Development up to 3% of GDP in order to create 3.700 million jobs and increase annual GDP by up to €795 bn by 2025. In order to reach this target it is necessary to employ up to 1 million researchers .
The target of this Flagship Initiative contains some key elements: the European Partnerships for innovation; an Innovation Union evaluating framework and a control list containing innovative and effective systems; a proposal of a cross-border regime for the capital at risk and the cooperation with EIB; the removal of any obstacles to the mobility of researchers; a wider access to the results of the public fund financed researches; the institution of an European Design Leadership Board regarding design and European trademark of excellence; the development of a pilot program on social innovation to obtain new working skills in different work-related fields; new governmental incentives and funds for public procurements and innovating services; the modernization of the framework of copyright through an agreement on the EU Patent; the creation of a Specialized Patent Court; the definition of interoperable standards as well as easy access to capital and a structural fund regime mainly focused on innovation.
At National Level, Member States have to carry out a combined programming; to enhance cross-border co-operation in areas with EU value added.
"An integrated industrial policy for the globalization era", launched by the European Commission on October, 27th, 2010, underlines the importance of small and medium-size industries as well as the achievement of an Industrial European Governance. Better conditions will be reached thank to a smart regulation, easy access to financial support for businesses, the development of single market; the protection of the intellectual property rights and reinforcement in infrastructures.
In order to compete on the international markets, EU needs a better trade and international regulations along with a wider access to raw materials and critical products. At national level, Member States have to improve the business environment, for example, by applying public sector procurements to support innovation incentives and to enhance the conditions to enforce intellectual property rights. Besides, it is necessary to reduce administrative burdens and to establish a closer cooperation between different sectors in order to speed up the whole industrial development.
“Resource Efficient Europe”, launched by the Commission on January, 26th, 2011. It aims to draw Government, Public Opinion and Stakeholders’ interests in the support of a long-term European strategy for an efficient usage of resources, which is essential in order to achieve some of the European targets: from the reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 85% to 90% within 2050, to the agricultural and fishery reform, from the reduction of food insecurity in developing countries to a more efficient European solution to the rise of energy and raw materials prices.
For this reason there also is an energetic efficiency plan to be met by 2020 and an energetic action plan to be fulfilled by 2050. Specific targets deal with different proposals to modernise and decarbonise the transport sector and to complete the internal energy market by carrying out strategic energy technologies, SET, plan. Another important project deals with the initiative to upgrade European Networks, including the Trans European Networks, towards an European supergrid, which is a combination of smart grids and interconnections, in particular the one of renewable energy sources to the grid, thank to structural funds and the support of EIB.
At national level, Member States must gradually bring down environmentally harmful subsidies, employ market-based instruments, develop smart infrastructures and work out coordinated infrastructure projects.
“An Agenda for new skills and jobs”, launched by the Commission on November,23rd, 2010, aims at modernizing labour market through the acquisition of new skills and the upgrade to new working conditions and tendencies.
The Commission proposes a variety of useful actions which will contribute to get a satisfying job market, to boost the labour market reform in order to improve the flexibility along with the security of the labour market itself, the so-called flexicurity; to provide people and businesses with incentives and to invest in training; to ensure better working conditions through a better quality of labour legislation; to improve the conditions for job creation and mobility including lower taxes on labour and the reduction of administrative burdens.
At national level, Member States must effort to identify their own national pathways for flexicurity, regularly monitoring the efficiency of tax and benefit systems. Furthermore, they aim at developing a National Qualifications Framework, acquiring and recognizing competences in a significant variety of the learning systems, along with the partnerships between the worlds of training, education and work.
“European Platform against Poverty", launched by the Commission on December, 16th , 2010, in order to guarantee economic, social and territorial inclusion, enabling the victims of poverty to stand a decent life and to take active part in society. The EU works coordinately, indentifying the best practices and promoting exchange of experiences; defying EU-wide rules and making funds available. The key actions focus on the following fields: easy access to work, smart usage of European funds to support inclusion and fight against discrimination; identification of innovative solutions in post-crisis Europe especially in order to outline more effective and efficient social supports; research of new kinds of partnerships between public and private sector.
At National level, Member States must promote both collective and individual responsibilities in the fight against poverty and social exclusion, defining and carrying out measures concerning classes at particular risk. In order to meet this target, it is also necessary to fully employ their benefit and retirement systems, to ensure an adequate support to the income and a sufficient access to health care.

COM(2010)2020, Bruxelles, 3 marzo 2010, EUROPA 2020 Una strategia per una crescita intelligente, sostenibile e inclusiva (
Paul Zagamé (2010) (paper) "The costs of a non-innovative Europe: what can we learn and what can we expect from the simulation works" (
COM 2011(144) "LIBRO BIANCO Tabella di marcia verso uno spazio unico europeo dei trasporti - Per una politica dei trasporti competitiva e sostenibile" (


Redattore: Valeria CHIOMA

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