European Commission - Press release
Delivering on growth and jobs: Commission presents 2011 country-specific recommendations
Brussels, 7 June 2011 – The Commission has adopted 27 sets of country-specific recommendations – plus one for the euro area as a whole – to help Member States gear up their economic and social policies to deliver on growth, jobs and public finances.
Earlier this year, Member States and the Commission agreed on 10 key priorities to face the current crisis while paving the way for a more sustainable economy. As situations vary from one country to another, the Commission is today recommending targeted measures for each Member State. This should help each country to focus on strategic levers in the next 12 to 18 months, and thus boost EU economy as a whole.
The EU economy is at a critical juncture. The recovery is gaining ground, but it is very uneven across the continent – and many uncertainties remain,” said President José Manuel Barroso. “Member States agreed in March an important set of commitments for the next 12 to 18 months. They must now make sure that they all implement these in a tailored way at national level. With today's country-specific recommendations, which are targeted and measurable, the Commission gives Member States its assessment of their national plans. We know that achieving the goals we have collectively set ourselves means sometimes hard choices. But these efforts, if made seriously and by all, will allow Europe to leave the crisis behind it and safeguard our future prosperity."
These sets of recommendations are part of the European Semester, whereby – for the first time this year – Member States and the Commission have been coordinating their economic and budgetary policies. Once priorities agreed at EU level, Member States presented their nationals programmes which the Commission has now fully assessed through these tailored, targeted and measurable recommendations.
Overall, Member States have sought to reflect the agreed EU priorities in their programmes and their macroeconomic assumptions are broadly realistic. However, national programmes often lack ambition and specificity. Many Member States need to be more ambitious on fiscal consolidation, while maintaining growth-enhancing measures (research and innovation, business environment, competition in the services sector). On labour markets, more efforts are needed to increase labour-force participation, combat structural unemployment, reduce youth unemployment and early school-leaving and ensure wages reflect productivity.
The adoption of the country-specific recommendations marks the penultimate step in the six-month period of intensive economic policy coordination between the EU and Member States labelled the European Semester. This kicks off in January when the Commission presents its Annual Growth Survey, which sets out the economic policy priorities for the EU for the coming year. These priorities are endorsed by Heads of State and Government at the March European Council. In April-May, Member States submit Stability or Convergence Programmes (on public finances) and National Reform Programmes (on structural reforms and growth-enhancing measures), to which the country-specific recommendations are the Commission’s response. Commitments made by the 23 Member States participating in the Euro+ Pact have also been assessed by the Commission as part of this process and are included in its recommendations.
The recommendations are designed to be implemented by Member States within a 12-18 month timeframe. They call for the front-loading of measures that will drive forward progress towards the goals contained in the EU's long-term economic strategy, Europe 2020, with its ambitious EU-wide and national targets EU-wide to be achieved by the end of this decade in the areas of jobs, innovation, education, energy and social inclusion.
The recommendations provide an EU input into national policy-making. Member States remain responsible for designing their economic policies and drawing up their national budgets. But there is today a broad recognition of our mutual interdependence in the EU in general and in the euro area in particular. That is why Member States have signed up to the common set of economic priorities for the EU, which Member States are committed to implementing at national level.
The recommendations will be endorsed by Heads of State and Government, reflecting the collective economic governance of the EU and the fact that the EU is a single economic space, much more than the sum of 27 separate economies. In taking forward this first European Semester the EU is recognising its economic interdependence and giving collective guidance to each Member State on its future budget, economic and social policies.
Each set of recommendations is based on an in-depth analysis of the economic situation in each Member State, set out in the Staff Working Papers also published today. Macroeconomic assumptions have been assessed against the Commission’s own Spring Forecasts. National measures listed in the programmes have been scrutinised to see whether they provide an adequate response to the specific challenges faced.
The recommendations will be debated and endorsed by the European Council on 23-24 June, after discussion in the ECOFIN and EPSCO Councils. Implementation will be monitored over the course of the coming year by the Commission and by Member States through a rigorous and ongoing peer-review process. The Commission will assess progress at EU level in its next Annual Growth Survey in January 2012 and for each Member State in its next set of country-specific recommendations in June 2012.
MEMO/11/364: Europe’s new economic governance