Press releases

Skills and education for growth and well-being in Europe 2020: are we on the right path?


22 October 2010

Brussels, 22 October 2010: EPC’s new issue paper by Sotiria Theodoropoulou assesses the education headline targets in the Europe 2020 strategy and their potential to help Europe achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth to maximise citizens’ well-being in today’s globalised knowledge economy.

In today’s globalised knowledge economy, Europe needs to maintain the road to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth to maximise the well-being of its citizens in a sustainable manner, and Europe 2020 outlines headline targets to reach this.

In this issue paper, EPC Policy Analyst Sotiria Theodoropoulou explains why a range of skills are necessary to achieve the EU’s growth objectives. However, she says, given the thorny problem of predicting the exact skills that will be needed and public finance constraints to achieve these goals, governments may find it difficult to steer policies appropriately.

She assesses the headlines targets for participation in education as laid out in the Europe 2020 strategy, and says that improving participation in education is not sufficient to deliver the appropriate skills, as it also depends on the quality of Europe’s education systems. In addition, skills alone are not enough to boost growth; it will be equally important to ensure the employment to take advantage of this highly-skilled workforce.

This paper makes the following specific recommendations:

  • develop adequate indicators to measure skills and the quality of national education systems to help policy-makers craft measures to meet EU growth objectives;
  • public educational investment should prioritise high-quality, early education as this provides the general foundation for acquiring other skills later in life;
  • invest in job creation for those with a diverse body of skills, as this could boost sustainable growth and reduce the numbers at risk of social exclusion;
  • education policies per se are not an EU competence, but the EU could give added-value by monitoring and coordinating educational goals in other key areas, such as public finances, industrial and innovation policies.

The author Sotiria Theodoropoulou is available for interview on: +32 (0)2 286 9378 or e-mail: S.Theodoropoulou@epc.eu

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