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Summaries of EU Legislation

2018 European Semester — Country-specific recommendations

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2018 European Semester — Country-specific recommendations

 

SUMMARY OF:

Council recommendations on the 2018 National Reform Programmes and delivering a Council opinion on the 2018 Stability or Convergence Programmes

Commission communication (COM(2018) 400 final) — 2018 European Semester — Country-specific recommendations

WHAT ARE THE AIMS OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS AND OF THE COMMUNICATION?

The country-specific recommendations and the communication:

  • give tailored advice to individual EU countries on how to boost growth, jobs, and investment, while maintaining sound public finances;
  • urge EU governments to use the favourable economic environment to strengthen long-term sustainable and inclusive growth;
  • cover a range of areas including
    • public finances
    • taxation
    • the labour market
    • education and social policies
    • innovation
    • public administration and
    • the business environment;
  • attach particular importance to the need to tackle social challenges, in the light of the European Pillar of Social Rights adopted in 2017.

KEY POINTS

The recommendations of the Council — which are specific to each EU country — encourage them to focus on aspects that will serve as a basis for sustainable and inclusive growth in the long term. In certain countries, issues arising from the 2008 financial crisis still persist and need to be addressed.

Given that the EU’s economy as a whole is now growing at its fastest rate since the crisis and that employment and investment levels are recovering, countries need to take advantage of these favourable conditions to ensure the resilience of their economies in the event of a future downturn.

The communication urges EU governments to:

  • continue structural reforms that improve the business and investment environment, notably through
    • product and service market reforms
    • support for innovation
    • improved access for SMEs to finance
    • measures against corruption;
  • implement policies that
    • prepare the workforce for future demands and increased digitalisation
    • reduce income differences
    • foster job opportunities, especially for young people;
  • strengthen their economies to handle the challenges of
    • elderly populations
    • increased migration
    • climate change;
  • pay special attention to social issues, notably by ensuring
    • the provision of adequate skills
    • the effectiveness of social safety nets
    • improved social dialogue.

The communication notes that since the European Semester was introduced in 2011, EU countries have made at least some progress on more than two thirds of the Council’s country-specific recommendations based on the Commission’s proposal.

BACKGROUND

The Commission publishes the country-specific recommendations every spring and the Council discuss and eventually validate them in summer. They are part of the European Semester, the EU’s annual cycle for economic and social policy coordination. This gives countries guidance on what can be realistically achieved in the following 12-18 months, before they take national policy decisions.

The recommendations adapt to the situation in different countries the EU-wide priorities identified in the Annual Growth Survey published on 22 November 2017 and the recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area EU governments adopted on 14 May 2018.

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Council Recommendations of 13 July 2018 on the 2018 National Reform Programme and delivering a Council opinion on the 2018 Stability or Convergence Programme for each EU country (OJ C 320, 10.9.2018)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank 2018 European Semester — Country-specific recommendations (COM(2018) 400 final, 23.5.2018)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — Convergence Report 2018 (COM(2018) 370 final, 23.5.2018)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Central Bank, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European investment Bank on the review of the flexibility under the Stability and Growth Pact (COM(2018) 335 final, 23.5.2018)

Council Recommendation of 14 May 2018 on the economic policy of the euro area (OJ C 179, 25.5.2018, pp. 1-5)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee: Monitoring the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (COM(2018) 130 final, 13.3.2018)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of Regions and the European Investment Bank: Annual Growth Survey 2018 (COM(2017) 690 final, 22.11.2017)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Establishing a European Pillar of Social Rights (COM(2017) 250 final, 26.4.2017)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part One — Principles — Title I — Categories and areas of Union competence — Article 2 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 50)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part One — Principles — Title I — Categories and areas of Union competence — Article 5 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 52)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Three — Union policies and internal actions — Title VIII — Economic and monetary policy — Article 119 (ex Article 4 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 96-97)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Three — Union policies and internal actions — Title VIII — Economic and monetary policy — Chapter 1 — Economic policy — Article 121 (ex Article 99 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 97-98)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Three — Union policies and internal actions — Title VIII — Economic and monetary policy — Chapter 1 — Economic policy — Article 126 (ex Article 104 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 99-102)

last update 08.10.2018

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