Priorities and prospects of the Europe 2020 presented at the L COSAC Meeting

30 October 2013, Last updated at, 11:09 EEST
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Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič | author: O. Posaškova

The achievements and challenges of the implementation of the Europe 2020, the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade, were presented by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, at the jubilee L COSAC Meeting held in the Seimas.

While admitting that the crisis caused a much slower launch of the implementation of the strategy than expected, Mr Šefčovič noted that the goal of the document that was framed in 2010 was shared by most of us. “The integrated EU strategy should deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for Europe. We decided to simplify it as much as possible and learn the lessons from the Lisbon strategy which was there before and had simply too many criteria and too many targets. Now we are looking only at five of them. They are key indicators which can show us whether we are moving to the right direction to keep our competitiveness and preserve our competitive edge if we were to compare ourselves with our major economic partners, who are at the same time our competitors.”

The Vice-President of the Commission says that the recent years have shown us how interdependent the European economies are. Therefore, if we want to stop spill-over effects from bad decision-making in one country, we obviously have to coordinate more effectively that decision-making process. That is what the European Semester is there for. “We need to use it much better in early detection of inconsistencies and emerging imbalances and use it as a platform to prevent the same structural problems we have been facing and to support the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy.”

Mr Šefčovič singles out five areas that have become a reform priority across the EU. They are the following: fiscal consolidation; restoring lending to the real economy; promoting growth and competitiveness for today and for tomorrow; tackling unemployment and reforming labour markets; and modernising public administrations.

In his overview of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Vice-President of the Commission underlines that this year Member States will, for the first time ever, have to present their draft budgetary plans to the Commission for assessment, which marks a major step forward.

The European Commission informs that the Europe 2020 is the EU’s growth strategy which sets five ambitious objectives – on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy – to be reached by 2020.

All Member States have committed to achieving Europe 2020 targets and have translated them into national targets and growth-enhancing policies. But only if the individual efforts of all the countries are coordinated and focused, can they result in the desired impact on growth.

Therefore the European Commission has set up a yearly cycle of economic policy coordination called the European Semester. Each year the European Commission undertakes a detailed analysis of EU Member States’ programmes of economic and structural reforms and provides them with recommendations for the next 12–18 months.

The European Semester starts when the Commission adopts its Annual Growth Survey, usually towards the end of the year, which sets out EU priorities for the coming year to boost growth and job creation.

The key targets for the EU in 2020 are the following:

  1. Employment: 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed;
  2. R&D: 3% of the EU’s GDP to be invested in R&D;
  3. Climate change and energy sustainability: greenhouse gas emissions 20% (or even 30%, if the conditions are right) lower than in 1990; 20% of energy from renewables; 20% increase in energy efficiency;
  4. Education: reducing the rates of early school leaving below 10%; at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education;
  5. Fighting poverty and social exclusion: at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
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