Malta will be insisting that member states should remain free to decide whether to translate the EU 2020 strategy targets into national goals rather than observing to the letter the five main headline targets set by Brussels be reached by the end of this decade.

In Brussels to attend today's EU summit, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said Malta was against a one-size-fits-all strategy because economic and national circumstances differed from one member state to the other.

"Although we agree with the general principles of the EU 2020 strategy, we would like to see it being implemented in line with the individual circumstances of each member state, so that every country can meet the overall targets at its own pace. This is what we will be pushing for during this summit," he said.

As an example, Dr Gonzi said that while Malta would not have a big problem reaching the poverty-reduction targets as set in the agenda, it would have a bigger task to reach the high goals set for the increase of women at work.

The EU 2020 agenda will be the main focus of today's one-day EU summit, which will also mark the end of the Spanish EU presidency.

Launched by the Commission earlier this year, the EU2020 strategy will replace the Lisbon Strategy and become the road-map for the next 10 years for greener growth and jobs in Europe. It identifies five headline targets at the EU level.

These include raising the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 from the present 69 to 75 per cent; raising investment in Research and Development (R&D) to three per cent of the EU's GDP; meeting the EU's 20/20/20 objec-tives on greenhouse gas emission reduction and renewable energies; reducing the share of early school leavers from the present 15 to under 10 per cent and making sure that at least 40 per cent of youngsters have a degree or diploma and cutting the number of Europeans living below the poverty line by 25 per cent, lifting 20 million out of poverty from the 80 million at the time being. In many of these targets, Malta is still far from the prevailing EU average.

The summit, chaired by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, will also discuss the forthcoming G20 summit to be held in Toronto, economic governance, illegal immigration and the post-Copenhagen climate strategy.

Dr Gonzi, who attended the summit of EPP leaders last night, is expected back this evening.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us