Priorities and flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 growth strategy

Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – these are the code words for Europe’s future. Seven flagship initiatives of the EU should support the implementation of reforms and contribute to achieving the headline targets for 2020 on a national as well as EU-level.

Growth based on knowledge and innovation, an inclusive high-employment society a competitive and sustainable economy are making up the key elements of the new Europe 2020 Strategy. These three priority areas form a strategic frame for the various reform initiatives and actions of Member States and the European Union.

Three priorities

  • Smart growth: Developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation (which includes measures in the field of education, research/innovation, digital society, etc.)
  • Sustainable growth: Promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy (which includes measures in the field of climate, mobility, etc.)
  • Inclusive growth: Fostering a high-employment economy delivering social, economic and territorial cohesion (which includes measures in the field of combatting poverty, fostering cohesion, etc.)

At the top level, the three main priorities – smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – define the cornerstones of the strategy. In line with these focus areas, five headline targets valid throughout the EU were defined. The heads of State and Government have agreed at their meeting in March 2010 to ensure that each Member State determines its own national target for each of the five core goals. The choice of methods, to fulfill these national targets remains in the hands of the Member State.

Seven EU flagship initiatives

In addition to the five headline targets, the European Commission also launched seven flagship initiatives. The flagship initiatives refer to programme focus areas which are each assigned to one of the three priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and make use of all instruments available at the EU level. Ultimately, the flagship initiatives are meant to work in concert with the Member States’ policy measures and contribute to the achievements of the five headline targets.

The EU flagship initiatives in detail:

  • Innovation Union: Improving the parameters and the availability of financial resources for research and innovation, strengthen the innovation chain and increase certainty for investment and innovation in the Union.
  • Youth on the move: Make education systems more efficient and make European higher education more attractive to international students, researchers and teachers.
  • Digital agenda for Europe: Rapid dissemination of high-speed internet and use of benefits of a digital single market.
  • Resource-efficient Europe: Decoupling economic growth and resource use through the use of low carbon technologies and renewable energy, modern transport and the promotion of energy efficiency.
  • An industrial policy for the globalization era: Improving the business environment (especially SMEs) by promoting a strong, sustainable and internationally competitive industrial structure.
  • An agenda for new skills and jobs: Modernization of labor markets through increased mobility of the workforce and lifelong learning, higher employment rates and better matching of supply and demand in the labor markets.
  • European platform against poverty: Social and territorial cohesion, so that benefits of growth are shared by all, and all people can live in dignity and take an active part in society.