Joint Committee on European Union Affairs invites submissions from the public on the ‘Europe 2020 strategy’ for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

1.     Introduction

The purpose of this call for submissions from the public is two-fold; firstly it is to gather information from the public and government in order that the Oireachtas, through the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs can contribute to the debate on the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’; and secondly, it is to raise awareness among the general public of the review that is underway of the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’ which is a central aspect of the EU Semester process, which is the new budgetary and planning mechanism which Ireland is subject to.

The Europe 2020 strategy was launched in March 2010 as the EU's strategy for promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It aims to achieve a knowledge-based, competitive European economy while preserving the EU's social market economy model and improving resource efficiency.  The Europe 2020 strategy is built around five headline targets in the areas of employment, research and development, climate and energy , education and the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

The strategy also set out a series of action programmes, called "flagship initiatives", in seven fields considered to be key drivers for growth, namely innovation, the digital economy, employment and youth, industrial policy, poverty and resource efficiency. The objectives of the strategy are also supported by action at EU level in areas such as the single market, the EU budget and the EU external agenda.

Four years after launching the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU Commission is now ‘taking stock’ of the Strategy to and has launched a public consultation as part of the review process.

Under its Orders of Reference, the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs is tasked examining the EU Commission’s strategic planning documents, and at its meeting of 3 July 2014, the Joint Committee agreed that in line with its terms of reference, it would be appropriate to contribute to an EU public consultation on Europe 2020 strategy.

The Joint Committee agreed to seek submissions from interested parties to form part of its consideration on the issue.  

The Joint Committee invites the written submissions from interested parties on the ‘Europe 2020 strategy’, following which it may decide to invite contributors to appear before it in public session.  The submissions should be set out in the format prescribed at paragraph 3 below.

2.  Taking Stock of the Europe 2020 Strategy

The Commission commenced a review of the Europe 2020 strategy in March 2014 with the publication of a Communication entitled “Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy.”

The review is taking place as the EU slowly emerges from the economic crisis, and in advance of the appointment of a new Commission. The aim is to ensure that the right post-crisis policy priorities can be set for the EU in the second half of the decade leading to 2020.

In its Communication, the EU Commission sets out its analysis of what has happened in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy so far. It considers that experience with the targets and flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy has been mixed.  It states that the EU is on course to meet or come close to its targets on education, climate and energy, but not on employment, research and development, or on poverty reduction.

The EU Commission has not drawn policy conclusions nor made policy recommendations at this stage of the review. Rather, it has launched an EU-wide public consultation of all stakeholders on the lessons to be learned and on the main factors that should shape the next stages of the EU’s post crisis strategy. The consultation period opened on and will run until 31 October 2014. Following the consultation, the EU Commission is expected to make proposals for the pursuit of the strategy early in 2015.

3.    Views sought and Format of Submissions

The Joint Committee would be welcome the views of stakeholders on any or all aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy that would assist it in informing its views on the Strategy. This may include general views on the Strategy or a copy of a questionnaire already submitted by stakeholders to the EU Commission as part of its public consultation process on the issue.  

Respondents are requested to make their submissions in writing and, where possible, by email. With regard to the latter, respondents are requested to ensure that electronic submissions are furnished in an unprotected format.

As a general guideline, submissions should consist of a separate document accompanied by a covering letter. Submissions should be presented as concisely as possible. The covering letter should contain your name and contact details (phone number and postal address and, if available, an email address). If the submission is on behalf of an organisation, you should indicate your position in the organisation. You should also indicate if you would be prepared to appear in public session at a Joint Committee meeting.

The main document should contain the following information:
1.    A brief introduction, for example, explaining your area of expertise or information regarding your organisation;
2.    Any factual information that you have to offer, from which the Joint Committee may be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other parties for their reactions;
3.    Any recommendations to the Joint Committee (these should be as specific as possible and should be summarised at the end of the document); and
4.    An executive summary of the main points made in the submission, if your document is more than 10 pages long.
As already indicated, submissions should, where possible, be made by electronic means to eucommittee@oireachtas.ie.  Hard copies are not required in this case. Alternatively, submissions can be posted to the address below.

4.    Making a submission is a Public Process

The Committee is not obliged to accept your document once it has been submitted, nor is it obliged to publish any or all of the submission if it has been accepted. However, the operations of a parliament are a public process, and you should be aware that any submissions made to a Joint Committee may be published either as part of a Committee report, or separately, if the Committee decides to do so.

A more detailed document outlining the guidelines for making a written submission can be viewed here or from the Clerk to the Committee:

Making Submissions and Presentations to Oireachtas Committees

The Members of the Joint Committee are:

Deputies: Dominic Hannigan (Chair), Dara Murphy (Vice-Chair), Timmy Dooley, Bernard J. Durkan, John Halligan, Eric Byrne, Séan Kyne, Séan Crowe, and Joe O’Reilly.
Senators: Colm Burke, Aideen Hayden, Terry Leyden, Catherine Noone and Kathryn Reilly.

5.    Deadline

The deadline for receipt of submissions on the proposal is 3pm, Wednesday 10 September, 2014.

6.     Queries

Any questions regarding the consultation should be emailed to eucommittee@oireachas.ie.

Bríd Dunne
Clerk to the Committee
Joint Committee on European Union Affairs,
Kildare House,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.
01 618 3850
Email eucommittee@oireachtas.ie