Europe 2020

The European Union is nothing if not addicted to targets.  Promises to achieve particular goals by specific dates are part and parcel of the EU’s daily business.  Sometimes the objectives are met, sometimes they are not met, and sometimes it’s hard to tell either way.  European monetary union, for example, was launched in 1999, but only after a two-year delay because a majority of member-states didn’t meet the criteria earlier in the decade (did Greece ever meet them?). 

The European Union needs to raise its economic growth potential – on that, at least, the bloc’s 27 member-states and the European Commission agree.  Otherwise Europe risks a speedy descent into relative economic decline, and its cherished “social model” – combining a liberal market economy with cradle-to-grave public services – will be increasingly unaffordable.  Will the Commission’s latest proposals, published last week under the title “Europe 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, do the trick?