This reports details the contribution made by Scotland over the last year towards the European Union's Europe 2020 strategy for delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Launched in 2010, the Europe 2020 strategy sets out collaborative targets for member states to help drive action to address structural weaknesses in the European economy, which in part contributed to the world-wide economic downturn in 2008.
The Europe 2020 targets relate to:
- Reducing youth unemployment
- Increasing research and development
- Meeting climate change ambitions
- Improving education
- Reducing poverty
The overall purpose of Europe 2020 is closely aligned with the Scottish Government's own strategic purpose of focusing government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.
As this report highlights, Scotland is in a stronger position to deliver these ambitions as part of the EU family.
Since the UK's vote to leave the EU, the Scottish Government has been working to protect the interests of the people of Scotland and minimise the adverse impacts of Brexit.
In January 2018 we published 'Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment' which provided detailed analysis on the economic, environmental and wider social benefits for Scotland of retaining membership of the European Single Market, as well as the benefits of the free movement of people for Scotland's demographic needs and sustainable economic growth.
However, the UK Government's intention is to leave the EU, a position contrary to the wishes of the people of Scotland who in 2016 voted decisively to remain. The uncertainty caused by the failure of the UK Government and Parliament in Westminster to agree how, when or even if the UK should leave the EU and what future relationship it should have places the health of Scotland's economy at considerable risk.
In any case the Scottish Government is clear that no future relationship can replace the benefits currently offered by membership of the world's largest economy.
Whether a member of the EU or not, Scotland and indeed the UK are part of Europe and will remain an integral part of the European economy. That is why the Scottish Government will continue to assess and report on the contribution we have made towards Europe's achievement of smart, sustainable, inclusive growth.