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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 (PDF, 666 KB), the European Council of 17 June 2010 (PDF, 69 KB) 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 (PDF, 273 KB) 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 (PDF, 178 KB), 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 and 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 Semester 2019 ended with the adoption of the country-specific recommendations by the ECOFIN Council on 09 July 2019. The country specific recommendation 2020 will be adopted by the ECOFIN Council on 10 July 2020.

The Council of the European Union recommends that Austria takes action in 2019 and 2020 to:

1. Ensure the sustainability of the health, long-term care, and pension systems, including by adjusting the statutory retirement age in view of expected gains in life expectancy. Simplify and rationalise fiscal relations and responsibilities across layers of government and align financing and spending responsibilities.

2. Shift taxes away from labour to sources less detrimental to inclusive and sustainable growth. Support full-time employment among women, including by improving childcare services, and boost labour market outcomes for the low skilled in continued cooperation with the social partners. Raise the levels of basic skills for disadvantaged groups, including people with a migrant background.

3. Focus investment-related economic policy on research and development, innovation, digitalisation, and sustainability, taking into account regional disparities. Support productivity growth by stimulating digitalisation of businesses and company growth and by reducing regulatory barriers in the service sector.


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