Greener growth part of Europe 2020 Strategy

Brussels, 17 March 2010 – The successor to the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs has been issued by the EC in March 2010. The newly presented strategy sets EU targets for 2020, including energy and climate targets for the continent.

The Europe 2020 Strategy is to guide the EU’s economy out of the financial crisis and to strategically position it and make it competitive in the future.

Three areas of action have been identified:

  • Smart growth – fostering knowledge, innovation, education and digital society,
  • Sustainable growth – making our production more resource efficient while boosting our competitiveness
  • Inclusive growth – raising participation in the labour market, the acquisition of skills and the fight against poverty

Five targets have been set:

  • 75 % of the population aged 20-64 should be employed.
  • 3% of the EU’s GDP should be invested in R&D.
  • The “20/20/20” climate/energy targets should be met.
  • The share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a degree or diploma. .
  • 20 million less people should be at risk of poverty.

In order to meet the set targets, a series of flagship initiatives have been proposed, touching upon the topics mentioned above.

Some of these, relating to eco-innovation and industrial environmental performance include:

  • Innovation union – re-focussing R&D and innovation policy on major challenges, while closing the gap between science and market to turn inventions into products. As an example, the Community Patent could save companies €289 million each year.
  • Resource-efficient Europe – supporting the shift towards a resource efficient and low-carbon economy. Europe should stick to its 2020 targets in terms of energy production, efficiency and consumption. This would result in €60 billion less in oil and gas imports by 2020.
  • An industrial policy for green growth helping the EU’s industrial base to be competitive in the post-crisis world, promoting entrepreneurship and developing new skills, thus creating new jobs. 

Some of the criticisms received from civil society and organisations is that the new strategy still fails to go ‘beyond GDP’ and measure its growth in monetary as well as environmental and social indicators. Others have also asked for more ambitious targets overall.

A consultation process is to take place in the European Parliament and the new strategy is expected to be adopted in summer 2010.

For more information please click here.

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