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Europe 2020

Towards a More Social EU?


Edited By Eric Marlier, David Natali and Rudi Van Dam

How can Europe 2020, the EU’s new Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, lead to a stronger Social EU with less poverty and greater social cohesion? This book by a number of eminent scholars and experts is the first to attempt to answer this question.
The adoption in June 2010 by EU leaders of a target to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion by 2020 is an important step forward. However, delivering on this and the Union’s four other mutually reinforcing targets, and achieving the EU’s ambitious social objectives, raises many political and technical challenges. These are examined in depth in this book.
A key objective of the book is to take a critical look at and draw lessons from the past, 2000–2010 Lisbon Strategy. Another important objective is to explore the format and role of EU coordination and cooperation in the social field in the new EU governance framework, in a context marked by slow recovery after the global economic crisis. Finally, the book also makes proposals for the further reinforcement of this coordination and cooperation and for the improvement of the different instruments available at EU, national and sub-national levels.
The analysis and concrete proposals presented in the book will be invaluable to policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders interested in contributing to building a more Social EU. They will help to encourage new ideas and innovative approaches.


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9. The Potential of Eurotargets:Reflecting on French Experience (Robert WALKER) 201


201 9. The Potential of Eurotargets: Reflecting on French Experience Robert WALKER1 9.1 Introduction Decisions taken by the European Union (EU) Heads of State and Government at their meeting on 17th June 2010 arguably marked a new phase in the story of EU policy-making. Most notable was the adoption of five EU headline targets to be achieved by 2020 (see opening chap- ter). They include quantifiable targets for reducing by 20 million the number at risk of poverty and social exclusion, increasing education attainment (reducing school drop-out rates to less than 10% and increas- ing the share of 30-34 year olds with tertiary education to at least 40%), and raising the employment rate (to 75% for persons aged 20-64). Targets not only establish goals but encourage and facilitate the meas- urement of progress. They increase accountability and, by doing so, ratchet up the pressure on politicians and policy-makers to deliver against the targets, thereby stimulating public debate and engagement and adding momentum to the policy-making process. Member States are obliged to act to implement these policy priorities and “in close dia- logue with the Commission, rapidly [to] finalise their national targets, taking account of their relative starting positions and national circum- stances” (European Council, 2010, page 3). The introduction of targets is a logical but not inevitable develop- ment of the approach to policy-making triggered by the Lisbon Strategy and epitomised by the Social Open Method of Coordination (OMC). The OMC is characterised by experimentation and knowledge creation and by...

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