The most important modification introduced by Europe 2020 compared to the Lisbon Strategy involves the creation of five quantifiable EU-wide headline targets. These targets fulfil a dual purpose:
- They will enable the transparent monitoring of the progress that individual member states and the European Union as a whole are making toward meeting the targets.
- They will also make clear how much the individual member states will have to contribute to the overall effort by undertaking national structural reforms and investments. In this way, the targets will constitute an important management tool for the Europe 2020 strategy.
Through its five headline targets, the European Union aims:
- to increase the employment rate among women and men aged 20-64 to 75%, including through the increased labour market participation of young people, older workers and low-skilled workers as well as the better integration of legal migrants;
- to improve the conditions for research and development - in particular by aiming to raise combined public and private R&D investment levels to 3% of GDP. In addition, the European Commission will develop an indicator to reflect R&D and innovation intensity;
- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels; to increase the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption to 20%; and to move toward a 20% increase in energy efficiency;
- to improve education levels - in particular, by aiming to reduce school drop-out rates to under 10% and by increasing the share of persons aged 30-34 who have completed tertiary education or equivalent to at least 40%;
- to promote social inclusion - in particular through poverty reduction, with the specific aim of lifting 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion.
To provide an EU-level contribution toward fulfilling the targets and to reinforce growth, the Commission is elaborating seven flagship initiatives within the framework of three thematic priorities:
|Smart growth||Sustainable growth||Inclusive growth|
Youth on the move
A digital agenda for Europe
An industrial policy for the globalisation era
|New skills and jobs|
European platform against poverty
Along with adopting the , the June 2010 European Council also adopted the Integrated Guidelines for Europe 2020. They are comprised of the treaty-based and the . The Integrated Guidelines reflect the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy and provide the member states with orientation on how to design their medium-term economic and employment policies. The current guidelines are to apply for five years.