Tag Archives: Economic consequence

Education and Training 2020

Education and Training 2020

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Education and Training 2020


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Education and training: general framework

Education and Training 2020 (ET 2020)

Document or Iniciative

Council Conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) [Official Journal C 119 of 28.5.2009].


These conclusions provide for a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training up until 2020. This framework builds on the achievements of the “Education and Training 2010” (ET 2010) work programme, with a view to responding to the challenges that remain in creating a knowledge-based Europe and making lifelong learning a reality for all.

The main aim of the framework is to support Member States in further developing their educational and training systems. These systems should better provide the means for all citizens to realise their potentials, as well as ensure sustainable economic prosperity and employability. The framework should take into consideration the whole spectrum of education and training systems from a lifelong learning perspective, covering all levels and contexts (including non-formal and informal learning).

The conclusions set out four strategic objectives for the framework:

  • making lifelong learning and mobility a reality – progress is needed in the implementation of lifelong learning strategies, the development of national qualifications frameworks linked to the European Qualifications Framework and more flexible learning pathways. Mobility should be expanded and the European Quality Charter for Mobility should be applied;
  • improving the quality and efficiency of education and training – all citizens need to be able to acquire key competencies and all levels of education and training need to be made more attractive and efficient;
  • promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship – education and training should enable all citizens to acquire and develop skills and competencies needed for their employability and foster further learning, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue. Educational disadvantage should be addressed through high quality inclusive and early education;
  • enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training – the acquisition of transversal competences by all citizens should be promoted and the functioning of the knowledge triangle (education-research-innovation) should be ensured. Partnerships between enterprises and educational institutions as well as broader learning communities with civil society and other stakeholders should be promoted.

In order to measure progress achieved on these objectives, they are accompanied by indicators and European benchmarks (set out in Annex I of the conclusions).

A set of principles are also provided that should be observed when working towards the objectives mentioned above. This includes the implementation of European cooperation in education and training from a lifelong learning perspective, whereby the open method of coordination (OMC) is used more effectively and synergies are developed between the different sectors involved. European cooperation in education and training should be cross-sectoral as well as transparent, thus involving the related policy areas and all relevant stakeholders. The outcomes from the cooperation should be disseminated and reviewed regularly. Greater compatibility with both the Copenhagen and Bologna processes and stronger dialogue and cooperation with third countries and international organisations should also be aimed at.

With a view of having effective and flexible working methods for European cooperation in education and training, the framework provides for a series of work cycles up to 2020, the first covering the period 2009-11. A number of priority areas are adopted for each cycle on the basis of the above-mentioned strategic objectives. Annex II sets out the priority areas for the first cycle. The cooperation should be carried out through mutual learning initiatives, for which clear mandates, schedules and planned outputs are established. The results of the cooperation are to be widely disseminated among policy makers and stakeholders in order to improve visibility and impact. A joint Council-Commission progress report should be drawn up at the end of each cycle, which will also contribute to the establishment of the priority areas for the next cycle. Together with Member States, the Commission will monitor cooperation in education and training.

Member States should work together using the OMC, with a view to developing European cooperation in education and training based on the above-mentioned strategic objectives, principles and working methods. At the same time, Member States should adopt national measures to attain the strategic objectives as well as to contribute to the achievement of the European benchmarks.

The Commission is invited to support cooperation between Member States, evaluate the progress made on the objectives and the benchmarks, as well as to continue work on benchmarks for mobility, employability and language learning. Furthermore, the Commission, together with the Member States, should examine how the coherent framework of indicators and benchmarks based on the ET 2010 work programme could be harmonised with the ET 2020.

2009 Ageing Report

2009 Ageing Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2009 Ageing Report


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social measures for target groups: disability and old age

2009 Ageing Report

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 29 April 2009 – Dealing with the impact of an ageing population in the EU (2009 Ageing Report) [COM(2009) 180 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission uses the projections presented by Eurostat in 2008 as a basis to report on the long-term effects of demographic ageing.

The economic impact of ageing

According to these projections, the employment rate will increase from 65.5 % in 2007 to 70 % in 2060. The employment of women and older workers is also likely to rise, as will net immigration levels. However, these developments will only slow down the overall fall in employment, due to the shrinking working age population. While there are now four workers for every retired person, this will move to two workers for each elderly person in 2060.

The ageing population will also have consequences on the annual growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and labour productivity will become the main source of economic growth.

The impact of ageing on public finances

Member States will be faced with new budgetary constraints. The reform of pension schemes should ensure that services are matched to the needs of the elderly whilst tightening the eligibility requirements for receiving a public pension and developing funded schemes.

The increase in demand for care is likely to lead to an increase of 1.5% in European GDP by 2060. Furthermore, the duration of care will increase and public cover for the elderly will be developed. On the other hand, medical research should be a significant growth factor, as should services for senior citizens.

Lastly, despite a fall in the birth rate, spending on education and lifelong training will prove to be essential in fostering productivity and human capital.

The impact of the international financial crisis

The programme of structural reforms aimed at allowing the EU to meet the demographic challenge involves the adoption of a series of measures aimed at achieving balanced budgets, reducing the public debt, increasing employment and productivity, and guaranteeing the viability of social protection and healthcare systems.

However, in 2009 Member States should give priority to the European Economic Recovery Plan. In this context, the Commission presents amended objectives to prepare for the ageing population. National measures should promote:

  • birth rates, by creating favourable conditions for families;
  • labour market participation , aiming particularly at young people and older workers. The participation of older workers involves adapted working conditions and healthcare;
  • economic productivity and progression towards a knowledge-based economy. In this regard, investments should be made in education, new technologies and services for the elderly;
  • conditions for receiving migrants. The international financial crisis has consequences on the situation of developing countries and migratory flows. However, migrants may also face more difficulties finding a job in Europe;
  • the viability of public finances and continuing reforms related to the demographic decline.

The measures taken at Community level are framed by the Stability and Growth Pact which forms the basis for the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (2008-2010), and the Renewed Lisbon Strategy. The Commission encourages:

  • strengthening of budgetary supervision and the coordination of national policies;
  • reform of national pension schemes;
  • protection of financial markets, particularly concerning their impact on pension schemes;
  • regular evaluation of progress and needs in the areas of education, training, research and development.

European Year for Active Ageing

European Year for Active Ageing

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Year for Active Ageing


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social measures for target groups: disability and old age

European Year for Active Ageing (2012)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 940/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2011 on the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (2012) (Text with EEA relevance).


The 2012 European Year acts as a framework to promote active ageing and solidarity between generations. The European Union (EU) faces a rapidly ageing population and decreasing birth rate.

It is therefore necessary to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for older workers, but also to improve their inclusion in society and to encourage healthy ageing. The actions carried out take account of equal treatment between people and gender equality.

Objectives of the European Year

The EU encourages and supports initiatives by the public authorities of its Member States, whether they take place at national, regional or local level. The social partners, actors in civil society and entreprises are also encouraged to carry out actions to promote solidarity and cooperation between generations.

The activities organised at European level and in the EU countries shall:

  • raise awareness among the general public of the importance of older persons’ participation in society and the economy;
  • stimulate debate, exchange of information and mutual learning between participating countries in order to promote good practice and cooperation;
  • offer a framework for commitment and concrete action to develop activities and innovative solutions, but also to set new long-term policy objectives;
  • combat age discrimination, particularly with regard to employability.


The European Year is open to participation by EU Member States, candidate countries and countries of the Western Balkans and the European Economic Area (EEA). Actions may also be organised in cooperation with competent international organisations.

In order to ensure that the activities are properly coordinated, each participating State shall appoint a national coordinator. In addition, the Commission shall be responsible for coordinating the Year at European level during meetings between the national coordinators and the various actors concerned.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision No 940/2011/EU


OJ L 246 of 23.9.2011

Enlargement, two years after – an economic success

Enlargement, two years after – an economic success

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enlargement, two years after – an economic success


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007

Enlargement, two years after – an economic success

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 3 May 2006 – Enlargement, Two Years After – An Economic Success [COM (2006) 200 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The 2004 enlargement has led to considerably more diversity and a significant increase in the number of citizens and Member States of the European Union (EU). This ambitious step in the history of Europe was marked by the integration of ten new countries (EU-10): Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungry, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) with different economic, political and social roots.

The economic forecasts made prior to accession were generally positive. On the one hand, they predicted economic growth for the new Member States and benefits, although more limited, for the old Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). On the other hand, they defused the fears relating to the costs of enlargement for the new Member States and the repercussions for the old Member States.

The objective of this Communication is to check whether, two years after the enlargement, these economic forecasts have proved correct and to identify the advantages and the challenges which remain on the pathway towards European integration.


The period 1997-2005 was marked by strong economic growth in the new Member States (3.75% on average, as against 2.5% in the EU-15). The income of the new Member States, whilst being substantially lower than that of the old Member States, has put on a spurt, rising from 44% to 50% of the EU-15 average in 1997. In general, their growth rate has continued in line with the forecasts and has been particularly fast in countries with the lowest income to start with. The employment market has also benefited from this phenomenon, with an upturn in 2005.

This new growth has contributed to the macroeconomic stability of the new Member States, with positive repercussions for their economic policies and their public finances. The integration currently under way and the strengthening of the coordination procedures have contributed to economic policy discipline. In addition, the credibility of economic policy is enhanced, which is confirmed by interest rates which are now closer to those of the EU. Developments in public finances have been less uniform on account of the transition-related reforms. The excessive government deficits, still characteristic of some of the EU-15 economies, have been corrected in most of the new Member States. Public debt is higher in the EU-15.


As regards trade, integration with the new Member States started in the early 1990s with bilateral agreements which liberalised 85% of trade between the two blocs. Between 1993 and 2005, the opening of these economies led to a considerable increase in trade on both sides. During this period, the old Member States increased their trade with the EU-10 countries by 6 percentage points, whilst their imports from the new Member States rose by 13 percentage points. These trade flows are characterised by more labour-intensive products from the EU-10 countries, in exchange for goods with greater technology content from the EU-15.

The old Member States continue to run a trade surplus with the EU-10 countries, which benefit from lower production costs. The trade deficit of the EU-10 countries has declined drastically in recent years and is not considered to be alarming in relation to the economic catching-up needed in these countries. However, the Commission considers that this imbalance must be the subject of close political surveillance, especially in the countries which are also recording high inflation.

Since the mid-1990s, the number of foreign firms and the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) have risen sharply in the new Member States, which is further evidence of the increasing openness of their economies and their integration in the EU. Specifically, FDI in the new Member States exceeded EUR 190 billion in 2004, most of which was financed by the old Member States. Germany is the leading investor, especially in Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, while the Nordic countries are the main investors in the Baltic States. The services sector receives the lion’s share of FDI (55%), followed by traditional manufacturing (37%), although modern manufacturing is becoming an increasing focus of attention.

The new Member States, especially those of Central and Eastern Europe, have recorded substantial progress in the financial sector. The surge in credit growth confirms this development, although loans outstanding and stock market capitalisation remain below the average levels in the euro area.

Cross-border investment and the penetration rate of foreign banks have exceeded the levels in the old Member States. Keener competition has cut the cost of borrowing (especially mortgages) and narrowed net interest margins, although differences are still obvious depending on the country (around 0.5% in Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia; about 3% in Poland and Slovenia).

Banks in the old Member States have benefited from accession as it has enabled them to gain access to these new growth markets and to diversify their portfolios. The investments of Austrian banks in Central and Eastern Europe and of Nordic banks in the Baltic States confirm this trend.


FDI and relocation

The concerns about relocation have proved to be unfounded: the outflows of FDI and their impact on employment are not significant.

The Commission considers that the new Member States only receive a small proportion (4%) of FDI outflows from the EU-15. The bulk of FDI outflows are destined for the other Member States (53%) and the United States (12%). In addition, since the outflows of FDI to the new Member States largely come under privatisation programmes, they would not bring about replacement of existing activities.

Different studies have shown that the annual job turnover attributed to relocation comes to 1%-1.5%. Relocation has in fact allowed an increase in the competitiveness of the firms of the EU-15 by leading to lower job creation (estimated at between 0.3% and 0.7% in Germany and Austria, which are among the largest investors in the EU-10 countries).

Nevertheless, through its Communication on restructuring and employment, the Commission encouraged Member States to make best use of the Community instruments (including the Structural Funds) to offset any repercussions on certain sectors or in certain regions.

Relocation is influenced only to a lesser extent by corporate tax rates. The factors which prompt the transfer of business activities, capital and jobs to the new Member States include cheaper labour costs and economies of scale. The impact of taxation should be assessed, considering all the aspects involved (including labour taxation, the tax base, overall transparency and integration of the corporate tax system). However, the taxes paid by companies as a share of GDP have remained fairly stable in the past decade.

The opening of the borders of the old Member States to nationals of the EU-10 was one of the most significant and sensitive issues of the 2004 enlargement. Nevertheless, the fear of migratory flows on a massive scale and significant distortions on the labour market now appear to be unwarranted.

Initially, all the Member States of the EU-15, except Ireland, the United Kingdom and Sweden, introduced forms of derogation from the principle of the free movement of persons and workers that had been authorised by the Accession Treaties for the transitional period (7 years). In the EU-10, only Poland, Slovenia and Hungary adopted national restrictions for EU-15 nationals. In 2006 four Member States of the EU-15 (Greece, Spain, Portugal and Finland) lifted these restrictions (which comprised quota systems and work permit schemes) and six others (Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) eased them.

In general, the presence of citizens from the new Member States in the migratory flows was distinctly less than that of citizens from third countries. This phenomenon also arose in Austria and Germany, which have become the preferred destinations of EU-10 nationals. The highest percentage of EU-10 nationals is to be found in Ireland, where they account for 2% of the total population.

The Member States which did not introduce restrictions for EU-10 workers also put up the best performance in terms of employment.

Body of EU law and challenges to be met

There are still challenges to be taken up in the following fields, in which in general there is a considerable degree of integration:

  • Internal market: The new Member States have integrated most of the European legislation on the internal market, lagging behind only in respect of competition. Transposition facilitates trade, investment and the development of the financial sector in the EU-10 Member States.
  • Agriculture: The enlargement has brought progress to the agricultural sector of all the Member States, facilitating trade within the EU and supporting the modernisation of agriculture in the new Member States. As a result of the contribution of the members of the EU-10, European agriculture has grown in importance in terms of area, production and number of farmers. The fears regarding the negative effects of the enlargement on the agricultural sector have proved to be unfounded. Nevertheless, the productivity of the members of the EU-10 remains distinctly lower than that of the rest of the EU. There is still a significant difference in terms of employment: in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, 4% of the population work in agriculture, compared with 19% in Poland.
  • Employment and social cohesion: The new Member States have not experienced problems in integrating EU legislation in employment and social policy, as far as labour law, health and safety at work, equal opportunities and anti-discrimination are concerned. However, major challenges remain in the new Member States in terms of combating unemployment, promoting social dialogue and ensuring social protection. The employment situation, which has improved since the 1990s, still features a high unemployment rate (13.4%), although the seriousness of the problem varies considerably from country to country. The schemes of the new Member States, which are supported by the European Social Fund, must make a considerable effort to achieve the targets set out in the Lisbon Strategy for growth and employment.


The budget of the Member States has been affected only to a limited extent by the enlargement. The financial support of the EU for the new member countries started fifteen years before their accession and gathered pace in 2004 and 2005. Today, the contribution of the EU-10 Member States to the European budget remains below the amounts they receive in terms of aid. On the other hand, the contribution of the old Member States to improving the well-being of the EU-10 countries represents only 0.1% of their GDP. In the financial framework 2007-2013, this level of assistance is set to increase substantially, while remaining limited in relation to the GDP of the EU-15. Moreover, the Schengen facility and the compensation facility have contributed to avoiding pressure on the national budgets of the new Member States.

In conclusion, thanks to the 2004 enlargement, the EU economy has become more dynamic and ready to take up the challenges of globalisation. This enlargement has extended the internal market and increased the benefits for European companies and consumers without causing any significant distortion on the product or labour markets. Careful preparation over the decade preceding access played an important role.