Two years ago the European Council set five targets in its key objectives in its 2020 strategy to establish a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy with high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion.
The EU monitored these five targets on employment, research & development, climate change and energy, education, and poverty and social exclusion. Recently Eurostat published Malta’s efforts so far in reaching these targets.
The biggest progress by Malta has been in the employment rate. Compared to a target rate of 62.9 percent for those aged 20-64 years, in 2011 we had already reached a rate of 61.5 percent. This is still 7% less that the 68.6% of the EU as a whole. The EU is falling short of its 75% target,
Investment in Research and Development as a percentage of GDP has risen from 0.57 percent in 2005 to 0.63 percent last year, still very short of the EU achievement of 2% which is also short of the 3% target it has set itself.
In the third key objective on climate change and energy Malta has fallen behind. This objective has three elements: a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (by 20% from the 1990 level); an increase in the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption (20% by 2020); and an increase in energy efficiency.
The EU has lowered its emissions by 15 percent since 1990. Malta’s emissions have increased by 49 percent over the same period. The EU only needs a further five percentage point improvement over nine years. The EU’s share of renewable energy has grown from 8.5 percent in 2005 to 12.5 percent last year. Malta’s has barely moved: from 0.1 percent six years ago, we are now at 0.4 percent – well below the 10% target for our country by 2020.
For energy efficiency, the target for 2020 for the EU 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.
The EU fourth target 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%. Malta’s target 29 percent is nearly three times that of the EU. From 38.9 percent in 2005, this share has gone down to 33.5 percent, but is still short of the target. The EU’s 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 EU having completed tertiary education to 40% or more. This share has increased steadily from 22.4% in 2000 to 34.6% in 2011. But Malta’s share has only increased from 18.4 percent to 21.1 percent, versus a target of 33 percent.
Finally, the fifth 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 EU by 20 million persons. This number has decreased from 123.9 million in 2005 to 113.8 mn in 2009, but then rose to 115.7 mn in 2010. Malta’s persons at risk of poverty has risen from 80,000 six years ago to 83,000 last year.