Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Background note Europe 2020 strategy (European Council 17 June 2010)

The previous blog post referred to the European Commission’s proposal on the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

This entry takes the strategy one step further, by guiding readers to the first decisions taken by the European Council.

Spring European Council

The Spring European Council 25 to 26 March 2010 already endorsed main elements of the new strategy for growth and jobs (document EUCO 7/10).

In accordance with the Commission proposal, the European Council agreed on setting five headline targets, shared objectives for the member states and the EU for the coming decade (point 5(b), page 2):

1. Employment
2. Research and development (R&D)
3. Energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
4. Education levels
5. Social inclusion and poverty reduction

We remind our readers of the conclusions regarding the first three headline targets, more or less finally fixed by the European Council.

1 Employment

With regard to the headline target for employment, the European Council concluded:

aiming to bring to 75% the 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;

2 Research and development (R&D)

The European Council’s conclusion on R&D:

improving the conditions 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 elaborate an indicator reflecting R&D and innovation intensity;

3 Energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

With regard to the difficult question of global action against climate change, the European Council reiterated its past 20/20/20 commitments, as well as its conditional willingness to commit itself to a 30 per cent reduction:

reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels; increasing the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 20%; and moving towards a 20% increase in energy efficiency;
the EU is committed to take a decision to move to a 30% reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels as its conditional offer with a view to a global and comprehensive agreement for the period beyond 2012, provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities;

In the next blog post we look at the headline targets expressly marked for continued discussion in June.

Ralf Grahn