Malta fails considerably to achieve the Europe 2020 strategy, adopted by the European Council in June 2010, aims at establishing a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy with high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. The key objectives of the strategy are expressed in the form of five targets on employment, research & development, climate change & energy, education and poverty and social exclusion. These targets are monitored on the basis of headline indicators that Eurostat compiles and publishes.
Today, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, issues a short publication presenting past trends and latest data for each of the headline indicators of the strategy at EU and Member State level.
EU27 employment rate at 68.6% in 2011
The first key objective of the Europe 2020 strategy is to increase employment. The target to be reached by 2020 is an employment rate4 of 75% among those aged 20 to 64 in the EU27. This rate rose from 66.6% in 2000 to 70.3% in 2008 and then, following the economic crisis, fell to 68.6% in 2011. Malta's unemployment rate stands at 6.2%. Malta’s success was tarnished somewhat by an unemployment rate of 11.9% amongst young people below the age of 25.
Share of GDP spent on R&D in the EU27 at 2% in 2010
The second key objective is to increase investment in research and development (R&D). The target to be reached in the EU27 by 2020 is a 3% share of GDP invested in R&D. This share has grown from 1.86% in 2000 to 2% in 2010. Malta is close to the bottom of the R&D league in the EU. In 2010, R&D expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product was 0.63%, compared to 2% in the EU27 and 2.06% in the Eurozone. The biggest spender on R&D was Finland, with 3.8% of GDP. Malta was the fifth worst spender.
Three headline indicators on climate change and energy
The third key objective refers to climate change and energy, and has three elements: a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; an increase in the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption; and an increase in energy efficiency.
For greenhouse gas emissions, the target for 2020 for the EU27 is a reduction of 20% compared with the level of 1990. These emissions have decreased steadily since 1990, with a sharp drop in the period 2008 to 2010, a period corresponding to the economic crisis. By 2010, emissions had declined by 15% compared with 1990.
For renewable energy, the target to be reached by 2020 is a share of 20% renewable energy use in gross final energy consumption in the EU27. This share has grown steadily from 8.1% in 2004 to 12.5% in 2010. However, in Malta, Enemalta's reliance on heavy fuel oil for the Delimara Power Station extension as well as the general neglect on key air pollution issues raises the red flag.
From 1990 to 2007, the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in Malta increased by 49% with carbon dioxide (CO2) being the most significant contributor to this increase.
For energy efficiency, the target for 2020 for the EU27 is a primary energy consumption of 1 474 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mTOE). This level fluctuated from 1 560 mTOE in 1990 to 1 650 mTOE in 2010.
Proportion of early school leavers in the EU27 at 13.5% in 2011
The fourth key objective of the Europe 2020 strategy is a decrease of early school leavers and an increase in persons having completed tertiary education. Malta still holds the abysmal record of the largest percentage of early school leavers in the EU 27, standing at 36.9%. In 2010, the percentage was 14% on average in the EU27.
For early school leavers, the target for 2020 for the EU27 is to reduce the share of the population aged 18-24 with at most lower secondary education and not currently in further education or training to below 10%. This share has decreased continuously from 17.6% in 2000 to 13.5% in 2011.
For tertiary education, the target for 2020 is to increase the share of those aged 30 to 34 in the EU27 having completed tertiary education to 40% or more. This share has increased steadily from 22.4% in 2000 to 34.6% in 2011.
Almost 116 million persons affected by poverty or social exclusion in the EU27 in 2010.
The fifth key objective is a reduction of poverty, including monetary poverty, material deprivation and lack of access to the labour market. The target for 2020 is to reduce the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU27, meaning those affected by at least one of the three dimensions of poverty, by 20 million persons. This number has decreased from 123.9m in 2005 to 113.8m in 2009, but then rose to 115.7m in 2010.
The number of Maltese at risk of poverty is 82,000. This means that those at risk of poverty in Malta are 20% of the population.