Social innovation can be seen in the larger context of Europe 2020 strategy which aims to create the conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Set in 2010, Europe 2020 provides a 10-year strategy for the advancement of the EU economy.
Five headline targets have been agreed for the EU to achieve by the end of 2020.
- Employment: 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed
- R&D: 3% of the EU’s GDP to be invested in R&D
- Climate change and energy sustainability: greenhouse gas emissions 20% lower than 1990, 20% of energy from renewables, 20% increase in energy efficiency
- Education: reducing the rates of early school leaving below 10% at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education
- Fighting poverty and social exclusion: at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion
European Semester is a yearly cycle of economic policy coordination involving EU-level policy guidance by the European Commission and Council, reform commitments by the Member States and country-specific recommendations prepared by the Commission and endorsed at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council. These recommendations are then taken on board in the Member States’ policies and budgets, ensuring de facto a better coordination of national efforts to overcome the crisis.
As part of this process, social innovation is increasingly seen as a solution for the modernisation of public services which, in times of credit restrictions, is one of the five permanent chapters of the dialogue with Member States.