Eurostat Presents Interim Results of Europe 2020 Strategy

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, presented a report on the state of leading indicators for the Europe 2020 strategy on 1 October 2012. The strategy was approved by the European Council in 2010. It is aimed at a high level of employment, productivity and social cohesiveness.

Eurostat is responsible for monitoring the leading indicators for the five core aspects of the strategy, consisting of employment, education, R&D (research and development), climate change and energy as well as fighting poverty. For the core issue of employment, the target for 2020 is an employment rate of 75 percent of 20 to 64-year-olds. Measured according to the 2011 figures, the proportion of employed persons is still lagging by 6.4 percent.

R&D spending has to increase from currently two to three percent of the GDP by 2020. Significant efforts will also have to be made in order to reduced the number of students dropping out of school or post-secondary education while simultaneously increasing the proportion of high school graduates. According to Eurostat, the proportion of youths with at least a secondary school education dropped from as high as 17.6 percent in the year 2000 to just 13.5 percent in 2011.

For the energy sector, Eurostat encompasses the factors of greenhouse gases, energy efficiency and the proportion of renewable energy sources. Here the continuous increase of renewables as a proportion of gross final energy consumption from 8.1 percent in 2004 to 12.5 percent in the year 2011 is especially pleasing.

According to the Europe 2020 strategy, fighting poverty includes the aspects of monetary poverty, material deprivation and lack of access to the job market. While the number of persons affected by poverty or social ostracism in the EU fell from 123.9 million to 113.8 million from 2005 to 2009, 115.7 million people were once again affected by at least one of the three poverty indicators by the year 2010.

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