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One major challenge for the member states of the European Union (EU) over the last two decades has been the economic crisis that began in 2007–2008. The global economic crisis has been assessed by economics and politicians as the worst crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The former president (2004–2014) of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, called for coordinated, innovative and immediate European reactions to the crisis to build a better Europe. The EU responses had to be based on real ownership by European leaders and institutions, a coordinated European response to act together and with new tools and the new ambition. During a decade of European economic crisis, there has been numerous calls for European leadership with new, innovative and bold measures have dominated—i.e. political entrepreneurship to counter the economic crisis. It was argued that European political entrepreneurship should be the cornerstone in a redeveloped, prosperous and highly modern European economy. In the famous and strategically important European Commission Communication of 2010, Europe 2020—A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Commission called for European political entrepreneurship throughout the governance system of European authorities to act as a countermeasure to the existing economic crisis. The Commission argued that fundamental efforts beyond day-to-day activities had to be implemented by multiple formal actors: “The crisis is a wake-up call, the moment where we recognise that ‘business as usual’ would consign us to a gradual decline, to the second rank of the new global order. This is Europe’s moment of truth. It is the time to be bold and ambitious” (European Commission, 2010: preface).
In the Communication, three main innovative objectives were identified in smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It referred to smart growth in promoting an economy based on knowledge and innovation, sustainable growth based on resource efficiency and a greener economy and inclusive growth providing for social integration. This special session aims to focus on European political entrepreneurship and the Europe 2020 by assessing the impact of Europe 2020 on creating a smart, sustainable and inclusive European growth.

Chairs: 
Associate professor Daniel Silander, daniel.silander@lnu.se & Dr. Brigitte Pircher, Brigitte.pircher@lnu.se Linnaeus University, Sweden. 

Updated by Rebecca Olsson