Is the Europe 2020 strategy leading us, as it promises, towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth? This is the main question addressed by this publication on the eve of this year’s Spring European Summit. The ETUC and ETUI offer a critical assessment of the strategy and its various components: will it be able to provide a framework for the creation of more and better-quality jobs? Are the policies and indicators set to promote an increase in social cohesion? How can workers better participate in the achievement of these various aims? Benchmarking Working Europe 2011 is structured in eight topical chapters illustrated by a significant number of graphs, and has a completely new layout.
The various chapters on the different facets of Europe 2020 contain a carefully argued and critical analysis of the design and contents of the European mid-term strategy and of the state of the European economic, employment and social indicators. They question the underlying foundation which firmly places the emphasis on fiscal consolidation while neglecting the need for economic growth and quality jobs. The major problem is that, if the (macro) economics are wrong, all the other laudable targets and procedures in the Europe 2020 strategy – raising education standards and R&D spending, reducing poverty – will prove entirely illusory, further undermining the credibility of Europe.
Several of the contributions to this volume show that it is rather by raising social and environmental standards and wellbeing that we might succeed in achieving a sustainable growth pattern and a healthier and more cohesive society for the future.