Eurostat analyses progress towards Europe 2020 headline indicators
On 7 October 2019, Eurostat presented the publication "Smarter, greener, more inclusive?" which analyses the progress of the EU and its Member States towards the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. The EU targets are set in the five thematic areas and Eurostat uses nine headline indicators for monitoring.
Changes in these indicators since 2008 — the baseline year for monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy — reveal a rather mixed picture. Substantial progress has been made in the areas of employment and education, where the EU has already reached the target for tertiary education attainment and is within reach of the target on early leavers from education and training. However, the targets on R&D investment and poverty alleviation are still at a distance, and progress towards the climate change and energy targets has not been consistent.
R&D expenditure in the EU stood at 2.06 % of GDP in 2017, compared with 2.04 % in 2016. The EU’s R&D intensity rose slightly between 2008 and 2012 and has stagnated around 2 % of GDP since then. This means that in 2017, the EU was still 0.94 percentage points below its target for 2020, which calls for increasing combined public and private R&D expenditure to reach the target of the 3 % of GDP.
The business enterprise sector remained the largest R&D performing sector in the EU, accounting for 66.0 % of total R&D expenditure. This sector had also recorded the largest increase since 2002. The ‘higher education’ and ‘government’ sectors contributed less to total R&D expenditure, at 22.1 % and 11.2 %, respectively.