In response to the crisis, in 2010 the EU launched its "Europe 2020" strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The strategy encourages growth based on education and innovation, using resources efficiently, not harming the environment and involving all members of society. To achieve this, it has set five headline targets for Europe and seven Flagship Initiatives to accelerate their achievement by 2020.
Member States must set out national programmes which contribute to delivering these targets. These are complemented by seven EU flagship initiatives which will aid meeting these ambitious goals.
Given the high level of public investment and number of EU programmes implemented at local level, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) is convinced that the success of the Europe 2020 strategy depends on fully engaging regional and local authorities. A number of regions and cities have even recently made the strategy their point of reference for their economic and social development plans. However, more needs to be done to give them a voice in the political debate, strengthen the role of '2020' regions and cities in national government plans and ensure that they fully contribute to the possible mid-term assessment of the strategy expected in 2014.
Supporting growth: the 5 targets for the EU in 2020
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
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
How the Committee is helping support Europe 2020
The Europe 2020 strategy is among the political priorities of the Committee of the Regions. The Committee is contributing to delivering Europe 2020 by:
Adopting opinions on relevant EU legislation
In line with its institutional role, the CoR puts forward local and regional points of view on EU legislation. It does so by adopting opinions on European Commission proposals related to Europe 2020. The CoR also issues political statements prior to each key development in the Europe 2020 policy cycle.
The CoR Monitoring Report on Europe 2020 and the Monitoring Platform
The CoR has established a Europe 2020 Monitoring Platform which gathers information on the ground through surveys, studies and meetings covering the local and regional contribution to designing and implementing Europe 2020 strategies in the Member States. Any EU local and regional authority can join the Platform. In September 2012 the Platform launched the first of seven surveys reviewing the implementation of each Flagship Initiative with the results to be published during a series of events being held over 2013 (see below). Additionally once a year the CoR publishes a Monitoring Report on Europe 2020 based on the Platform's findings.
Conferences and surveys: assessing the seven Flagship Initiatives
The CoR is organising a series of seven conferences - one per flagship initiative - under the heading 'CoR Europe 2020 Conference - Regions and cities delivering Europe's growth strategy'. The events target representatives of regional and local authorities with the indicative schedule as follows:
Youth on the Move: 13 December 2012, Brussels
An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs: 28 February/ 1 March 2013, Dublin
Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era:10 April 2013, Brussels
European Platform against Poverty: 29 May 2013, Brussels
Digital Agenda: 2 July 2013, Brussels
Resource Efficient Europe: 6 September 2013, Vilnius
Innovation Union: 26 November 2013, Brussels
In view of each conference, a survey will be carried out by the Europe 2020 Monitoring Platform focusing each of the Flagship Initiatives under discussion.
For more information or to get involved in the CoR's work around Europe 2020: www.cor.europa.eu/europe2020