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During their meeting on 17 June 2010, the heads of state and government of EU member states finally adopted the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’, the successor to the Union’s less than successful Lisbon Agenda. A key component is a set of five ‘headline targets’ relating to employment, climate change and energy, social inclusion and poverty reduction, but also to research and education.
The European Council confirmed the target of three percent of GDP for research, which had already been a firm part of Union policy in the past 10 years, but had recently come under fire from poorer EU member states. In addition to this target, the European Commission is to elaborate an indicator for innovation intensity in research and development. For higher education, the target is an increase in the share of 30-34 year olds with a tertiary education qualification to at least 40 percent. Germany in particular had long resisted a target in this area, fearing it could erode the – mainly – national responsibility in higher education. Meanwhile, the school drop-out rate is to be reduced to less than 10 percent.