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Europe 2020

Based on a proposal by the European Commission of March 2010 for a New European Strategy for growth and jobs, the European Council of 17 June 2010 adopted the 'Europe 2020 Strategy' as a follow-up to the Lisbon Strategy.

Europe 2020 uses a partnership approach extending to all EU institutions, to national parliaments and national, local and regional authorities, to social partners and to stakeholders, NGOs and civil society so that everyone is involved in delivering on the vision. As a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, Europe 2020 defines five measurable headline targets to be implemented by 2020 and transposed into national targets:

  1. The employment rate of the population aged 20-64 should increase to at least 75 per cent
  2. Investing 3 per cent of GDP in research & development
  3. 20-20-20 climate protection and energy targets: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent compared to 1990; increase the share of renewable energy sources in energy consumption to 20 per cent; and a 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency (final energy consumption in 2020 should be 1,086 Megatons of oil equivalent – Mtoe)
  4. Reducing the drop-out rate to 10 per cent, whilst increasing the share of the population aged 30-34 having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40 per cent
  5. The number of Europeans living below the national poverty lines should be reduced by 20 million

In order to achieve these EU-wide targets, the Member States have introduced national targets taking into account national circumstances and differing starting points. The Austrian Council of Ministers adopted the national targets 2020 on 5 October 2010:

  1. Employment rate 77-78 per cent
  2. 3.76 per cent of GDP to be spent on research & development
  3. 16-34-25.1: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent; share of renewable energy sources increased to 34 per cent; and final energy consumption in 2020 25.1 Mtoe
  4. Reducing the drop-out rate to 9.5 per cent, whilst increasing the share of the population aged 30-34 having completed tertiary education to at least 38 per cent
  5. Austria's contribution to the EU poverty reduction target is to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty by 235,000

Periodic reporting on the state of implementation and progress towards the targets is carried out through the so-called 'national reform programme' to be submitted, together with the stability and convergence programmes, by each Member State by the end of April at the latest. Both programmes (legal basis: Integrated Guidelines: Art. 121 and Art. 148 TFEU) are key elements of the European Semester, aimed at coordinating the EU's economic and fiscal policies throughout the year.

Based on (a) the country reports published in February, (b) an in-depth assessment of the Member States' plans to consolidate public finances (stability or convergence programmes) and their policy measures to promote growth and jobs (national reform programmes) and (c) the outcomes of the dialogue with Member States and other major stakeholders, the European Commission proposes country-specific recommendations for each Member State. The European Council endorsed the country-specific recommendations on 17 July 2020 and on 20 July 2020 the Council adopted its 2020 recommendations.

The Council of the European Union recommends that Austria take action in 2020 and 2021 to:

  1. Take all necessary measures, in line with the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact, to effectively address the COVID-19 pandemic, sustain the economy and support the ensuing recovery. When economic conditions allow, pursue fiscal policies aimed at achieving prudent medium-term fiscal positions and ensuring debt sustainability, while enhancing investment. Improve the resilience of the health system by strengthening public health and primary care.

  2. Ensure equal opportunities in education and increased digital learning.

  3. Ensure an effective implementation of liquidity and support measures, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises, and reduce administrative and regulatory burden. Front-load mature public investment projects and promote private investment to foster the economic recovery. Focus investment on the green and digital transition, in particular on basic and applied research, as well as innovation, sustainable transport, clean and efficient production and use of energy.

  4. Make the tax mix more efficient and more supportive to inclusive and sustainable growth.


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