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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:

    Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;

    Sustainable growth: developing a more resource-efficient, greener and more competitive economy;

    Inclusive growth: and fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion. 

    It also sets five overarching objectives to be reached by 2020, each with national targets. For more information check out the EU Commission’s website.


    Headline Target - EU

    National Target - Ireland


    75% of population aged 20-64 employed



    3% EU’s GDP invested in R&D

    2% GDP/2.5% GNP

    Climate Change

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

    - 20% energy from renewables

    - 20% increase in energy efficiency

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

    16% energy from renewables

    20% increase in energy efficiency

    20% reduction in greenhouse gases


    Early school leavers under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation with a tertiary degree.

    Early school leavers under 8% and at least 60% of 30-34 year olds with a tertiary degree


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

    At least 200,000 reduction in the population in ‘combined poverty’ (consistent poverty or at-risk-of-poverty or basic deprivation).

    Reduce consistent poverty to 4% by 2016 (interim target) and to 2% or less by 2020 (baseline rate of 6.3% in 2010).