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European Union Policy

    Europe 2020 is the European Union’s ten-year growth strategy. It involves integrating EU efforts related to development through greater coordination of national and European policies and creating the conditions for a growth model at EU, national and regional levels that is smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive.  

    Europe 2020 puts forward three mutually reinforcing priorities for the decade:

    1. Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;
    2. Sustainable growth: developing a more resource-efficient, greener and more competitive economy
    3. Inclusive growth; and fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion. 

    It also sets five overarching objectives to be reached by 2020 which are further translated into national targets which require a mixture of national and EU action. For more information check out the EU Commission’s website

    Europe 2020 Strategy’s objectives and headline targets and Ireland targets and achievements to date:


    Headline Target

    National Target - Ireland


    75% of population aged 20-64 should be employed



    3% EU’s GDP should be invested in R&D

    2% of GDP / 2.5% of GNP

    Climate Change

    20/20/20 climate/energy targets should be met (incl. increase to 30% of emissions reduction if conditions are right):

    20% of energy from renewables

    20% increase in energy efficiency

    20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the non-traded sector compared to 2005 levels



    16% energy from renewables

    20% increase in energy efficiency

    20% reduction in greenhouse gases


    Share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least over 40% of the younger generation should have a tertiary degree.

    Early school leavers under 8%

    30-34 year olds with a tertiary degree at least 60%


    At least 20m fewer people in at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion

    The Irish contribution to the target is to reduce by a minimum of 200,000 the population in ‘combined poverty’ (i.e. consistent poverty or at-risk-of-poverty or basic deprivation).

    The National Social Target for Poverty Reduction in Ireland is to reduce consistent poverty to 4% by 2016 (interim target) and to 2% or less by 2020 (baseline rate of 6.3% in 2010).