How is the European Union progressing towards its Europe 2020 targets?

The Europe 2020 strategy, adopted by the European Council in June 2010, is the European Union’s agenda for jobs and growth for the current decade. As a main objective, the strategy strives to deliver high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion in the Member States, while reducing the impact on the natural environment. To reach this objective, the EU has adopted targets to be reached by 2020 in five areas: employment, research & development (R&D), climate change & energy, education and poverty reduction. These have been translated into national targets in order to reflect the situation and possibilities of each Member State to contribute to the common goal. A set of nine headline indicators and additional sub-indicators, compiled by Eurostat, give an overview of how close the EU is to its overall targets.

A complete picture of trends in the Europe 2020 headline indicators
The analysis in the Eurostat publication is based on the Europe 2020 headline indicators used to monitor the strategy’s targets. Other indicators focusing on specific subgroups of society or on related issues that show underlying trends are used to deepen the analysis and present a broader picture. The publication aims to shed light
on the trends in the headline indicators over the past years and helps understand the factors behind the changes
observed so far.

The radar chart below presents the current situation of the EU by showing the progress made since 2008 and the
distance still to cover towards the Europe 2020 key targets.

What is the situation in each EU Member State?
The five thematic chapters of the publication are followed by a country profile for each Member State. These
country profiles give an overall picture of the situation in relation to the national Europe 2020 targets. The country
profiles provide for each Member State a table with the national Europe 2020 indicators and illustrate the situation
in each Member State in the form of a radar chart, which shows the distance between the most recent data and the
defined national targets.

Geographical information
The European Union (EU) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Methods and definitions
The employment rate is the number of employed persons in a given age group (people aged 20-64 in the Europe 2020 strategy) as percentage of the total population of the same age group.

Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) includes expenditure on research and development by business enterprises, higher education institutions, as well as government and private non-profit organisations.

Greenhouse gases constitute a group of gases, among which carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), contributing to global warming and climate change. Converting them to carbon dioxide (or CO2) equivalents makes it possible to compare them and to determine their individual and total contributions to global warming. The indicator includes international aviation and indirect CO2, but excludes emissions from land use, land use change and forestry.

Renewable energy sources, also called renewables, are energy sources that replenish (or renew) themselves naturally, such as solar, wind, and tidal energy.

Primary energy consumption measures the total energy demand of a country. It covers consumption of the energy sector itself, losses during transformation (for example, from oil or gas into electricity) and distribution of energy, and the final consumption by end users.

Final energy consumption is the total energy consumed by end users, such as households, industry and agriculture. It is the energy which reaches the final consumer’s door and excludes that which is used by the energy sector itself.

The indicator ‘early leavers from education and training’ is defined as the percentage of the population aged 18-24 with at most lower secondary education (according to the International Standard Classification of Education) and who were not in further education or training during the last four weeks preceding the survey.

The indicator related to tertiary educational attainment is defined as the percentage of the population aged 30-34 who have successfully completed tertiary studies (e.g. university, higher technical institution, etc.) as defined in the International Standard

Classification of Education.
The indicator ‘At risk of poverty or social exclusion’ refers to the situation of people either at risk of poverty, or severely materially deprived or living in a household with a very low work intensity. The total number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion is lower than the sum of the numbers of people in each of the three forms of poverty or social exclusion as persons affected simultaneously by more than one of these situations are only counted once.

Persons at-risk-of-poverty are those living in a household with an equivalised disposable income below the risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60% of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers). The equivalised income is calculated by dividing the total household income by its size determined after applying the following weights: 1.0 to the first adult, 0.5 to each other household members aged 14 or over and 0.3 to each household member aged less than 14 years old.

Severely materially deprived persons have living conditions constrained by a lack of resources and experience at least 4 out of the 9 following deprivation items: cannot afford 1) to pay rent/mortgage or utility bills on time, 2) to keep home adequately warm, 3) to face unexpected expenses, 4) to eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, 5) a one week holiday away from home, 6) a car, 7) a washing machine, 8) a colour TV, or 9) a telephone (including mobile phone).

People living in households with very low work intensity are those aged 0-59 who live in households where on average the adults (aged 18-59) worked less than 20% of their total work potential during the past year. Students are excluded.

For more information
Eurostat website section dedicated to the Europe 2020 strategy.
Eurostat scoreboard on Europe 2020 headline indicators.