Strategy for employment and growth
Jan Peter Balkenende, Dutch Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy,
President of the European Council, Nicolas Sarkozy, French President,
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister,
Georgios Papandreou, Greek Prime Minister, Angela Merkel,
German Federal Chancellor
© The European Union, 2010
The European Council has agreed on the key elements of the new strategy for jobs and growth, the EU 2020 strategy. To president Van Rompuy, who chaired the meeting on 25-26 March, the strategy sums up the European model of social market economy with a strong environmental dimension. "To protect this model, economic performance should be very strong."
The strategy sets out to boost competitiveness and productivity without hampering social cohesion. To reach this objective, five headline targets have been established:
- reduction of poverty;
- an employment rate of 75 % of the working age population;
- meeting the EU's climate and energy targets: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, increased share of renewables in energy consumption and improved energy efficiency;
- reduction of school drop-out rates and more students in higher education; and
- 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in research and innovation.
These headline targets will be converted into national goals to be set by member states.
The EU needs to focus on the challenges of competitiveness and the divergences between member states, as well as externally. The heads of state and government called for coordination of policies, budgetary discipline and redressing the balance of payments.
The leaders had an exchange of views of what should be the EU's priorities for the G20 summit in Toronto in June.
On climate change, the European Council decided to refocus efforts in the international negotiation process. "The Union remains environmentally ambitious, while appreciating the need for a step-by-step approach after Copenhagen", stressed Herman Van Rompuy.
The member states of the euro area have shown solidarity with Greece with their decision to aid the country financially, if necessary. The euro countries agreed on a finance package combining bilateral loans from euro members and financing through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The activation of the package is subject to a request from the Greek government.
European Council conclusions
Statement by the heads of state and governement of the euro area
Webcast of press conference