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Economic Growth and employment


The themes embraced by this impact area are central to the overall economic objectives of the European Union. At present, Europe finds itself at a crucial crossroads facing both internal and external challenges. On the one hand, Europe must address the challenge of ageing populations which in the long-run will result in a considerable shrinking of the working-age population while increasing the share of retired persons. Unless the decline in the size of the workforce is compensated by increases in labour productivity, potential growth will drop dramatically to around 1% by 2040, which is only half of the current level. Such a decline in economic performance together with a rise in age-related expenditures would put the European social model under considerable stress. On the other hand, the increased pace of globalisation has exposed the EU economy to mounting competition from abroad. The range of economic activities exposed to external competition has widened, now including the production of both high-tech and labour intensive goods and services. R&D investment in the EU has become close to stagnation. If current trends continue, R&D investment will be at 2.2% of GDP in 2010, considerably lower than the agreed objective of 3% (Lisbon Strategy). Against this background important decisions need to be taken which will determine Europe's economic and social future.

Guiding Question

What are the overall consequences of the policy option for economic growth and employment?

Relevant Policies

Europe 2020 is the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade. The objectives for the EU are to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. Concretely, the Union has set five ambitious objectives – on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy – to be reached in 2020. Each Member State will adopt its own national targets in each of these areas.


DG Economic and Financial Affairs:

Further Sources of Data

Please link to other sources of data, e.g. important reports, annual reports etc.  

Further Sources of Information

European Commission: Europe 2020
Activities of the European Union: Employment and Social Affairs

Eurostat Indicators

There is a special database on Eurostat about Europe 2020 Indicators Europe 2020
The following Eurostat Sustainable Development Indicators (Socio-economic development) are relevant to address the key question for what concerns Economic Growth and employment:
- Real GDP per capita, growth rate and totals
- Investment by institutional sectors
- Dispersion of regional GDP per inhabitant
- Net national income
- Household saving rate
- Total employment rate
- Employment rate, by gender
- Employment rate, by highest level of education attained
- Unemployment rate, by gender
- Unemployment rate, by age group
- Dispersion of regional employment rates, by gender

Other Official Indicators

The OECD database:

Publications and applications

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