Brussels – At the meeting held in Brussels today, EU heads of state agreed on the objectives for the new European employment and economic growth strategy.
The new strategy focuses on areas where specific steps have to be taken to increase competitiveness, productivity and economic growth in Europe.
Discussion at the European Council, which lasted for two days, addressed the “Europe 2020” action plan aimed at increasing the EU’s competitiveness, climate policy, Union priorities at the upcoming G20 summit and the financial situation of Greece.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip considered it very important for agreement to have been reached on the principal objectives for the economic growth strategy.
“Agreement being reached on the principal objectives for the new strategy gives people a strong signal of the resolve of the European Union to take its economy to a new upturn,” Ansip said. “Economic growth, in turn, will mean a reduction in unemployment.”
“Europe 2020” aims for a 75% employment rate in the 20-64 age group, investments in research and development activities of at least three per cent of gross domestic product, accomplishment of objectives in the energy and climate policies of the Union, increasing the number of people with a higher education, a reduction in the dropout rate at institutions of learning, and combating poverty.
In view of these objectives, Member States will set their national action plans specifying the measures they intend to use to implement the new strategy.
Another important topic the EU leaders focussed on was how to provide a new impetus to the international climate talks. The EU leaders stressed their previous commitments to combat climate change.
“The European Union must continue to be active on climate policy,” Ansip said. “We should now be focusing on providing clarification of our views. In this respect, the European Commission ought to be given the greatest possible role.”
During the Council, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip took part in several bilateral meetings. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister met with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, whom he briefed on Estonia’s efforts to join the euro zone.
The topic of the European single currency was also in the foreground at today’s meeting with Angela Merkel, the Federal Chancellor of Germany.