EU Council adopts “Europe 2020” a new Jobs and Growth Strategy for Europe

The meeting of the European Council taking place in Brussels on Thursday June 17th 2010, which ended up Spanish Presidency of the European Union, achieved the adoption of a new 10-year strategy for jobs and growth. European leaders also reinforced their determination to ensure fiscal sustainability, committing to ensure financial stability and agreed on the need to reinforce coordination of economic policies.

The European Council meeting in June 17th has finalised the European Union's new strategy for jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The strategy will help Europe recover from the crisis and come out stronger, both internally and at the international level, by boosting competitiveness, productivity, growth potential, social cohesion and economic convergence. The new Europe 2020 strategy responds to the challenge of reorienting policies away from crisis management towards the introduction of medium- to longer-term reforms that promote growth and employment and ensure the sustainability of public finances, inter alia through the reform of pension systems.

The European Council confirms the five EU headline targets which will constitute shared objectives guiding the action of Member States and the Union.

Europe 2020 Jobs and Growth Strategy. Main Headlines

  • aiming to raise to 75% the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64
  • improving the conditions for research and development
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels, increasing the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 20% and moving towards a 20% increase in energy efficiency
  • improving education levels
  • promoting social inclusion

The Council also stressed the need for Member States to act in order to implement these policy priorities at their level, in close dialogue with the Commission, and rapidly finalise their national targets. All common policies, including the common agricultural policy and cohesion policy, will need to support the strategy.

For the success of the new 2020 Strategy, Europe's Single Market needs be taken to a new stage, through a comprehensive set of initiatives. The European Council welcomed the report presented by Mr Mario Monti on a new strategy for the Single Market and the Commission's intention to follow it up by presenting concrete proposals.

Further to the presentation by the Commission of the first flagship initiative on a “Digital Agenda for Europe”, the European Council endorsed the establishment of an ambitious action agenda based on concrete proposals and calls upon all institutions to engage in its full implementation .

Financial Stability, economic governance and stability of financial system

European Council agreed on the need to enhance economic governance, in particular as regards budgetary and broader macroeconomic surveillance., and set forth the necessary rules to be implemented and the orientations to be met in so doing.

The necessary reforms to restore the soundness and stability of the European financial system is one more element highlighted by the Council to be completed urgently. The resilience and transparency of the banking sector must be ensured,  an the he EU must demonstrate its determination to bring about a safer, sounder, more transparent and more responsible financial system.

G20 Toronto Summit

The European Council also agreed that member states should set up levies on financial institutions to ensure fair burden-sharing in the event of a crisis. At the forthcoming G20 summit in Toronto, the EU will propose introducing such schemes at a worldwide level.

Iceland EU accession and eurozone enlargement to Estonia

EU leaders stated that Iceland meets the political criteria for joining the EU and decided that membership talks should be opened. As regards the enlargement of the eurozone, Estonia fulfils all convergence requirements and should be ready to adopt the common currency on 1 January 2011.