The RSE has responded to the European Commission’s consultation on its strategy for ‘smart, sustainable, inclusive growth’ in Europe.
Launched in 2010, Europe 2020 sets a number of targets in the areas of employment, research and development, energy, education and poverty. At its mid-point, and following a financial crisis that was longer and deeper than envisaged in 2010, the Commission is reviewing the strategy and its targets.
The RSE has called on the Commission to use this review as a powerful opportunity to re-establish a shared vision of the EU’s purpose and its values. At a time of rising euro-scepticism, making a clear case for the added value of EU action will be crucial to regaining approval from its citizens.
But is also warns that the review of Europe 2020 must be starkly realistic. The aspirations of the strategy, while laudable, require investment at a time when the EU’s fiscal policy of austerity calls for restrictions on spending.
A holistic approach is required, recognising that the targets set for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth are inter-linked, and that progress can be made only with commitment and coordinated action at all levels with the EU, including an explicit role for actors at sub-national level.