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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Europe 2020

The economy is on everyone's mind these days.  If there is a common denominator on both sides of the Atlantic which will figure prominently in the next election cycles, it will be concern over government provided services, growth and jobs.

So how many of you EU voters out there have heard of Europe 2020?  It's worth checking out since this is the European Commission's economic plan for the EU over the next 10 years.  Their vision is "a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy" with 5 targets to be reached by the end of this decade:
1. Employment:  75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed
2. R&D/Innovation:  3% of the EU's GDP (public and private combined) to be invested in R&D/innovation
3. Climate change / energy:  greenhouse gas emissions 20% (or even 30%, if the conditions are right) lower than 1990
20% of energy from renewables
20% increase in energy efficiency
4. Education:  Reducing school drop-out rates below 10%
at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education
5. Poverty / social exclusion:  at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion
There are no fewer than 7 flagship initiatives that have been launched to achieve these targets.  The most interesting to me (and I would imagine the readers of this blog) is the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs.  To those who say that the EU isn't transparent and doesn't speak the language of regular folks, I'd say they are pretty clear and concise on this topic, "For our economy to grow and remain competitive, we need more jobs."  Amen to that.

The member-states are being held accountable for the results.  They must prepare two reports a year explaining how they have (or have not) moved toward stability, convergence and reform in line with the targets.  There is a Monitoring Platform and also a Europe 2020 Dashboard published by Eurostat. For the latter it appears that they have not yet brought all the data on-line but the site is relatively recent so give them a few months.

I like these targets and the overall plan.  Jobs are certainly the number one priority but the list includes measures to address environmental and social issues.  It is clear that the EU does not see this things as being incompatible.

A suivre.

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