Brussels, 2 June 2014
Building growth: Country-specific recommendations 2014
Brussels, 2 June 2014 – The European Commission has today adopted a series of economic policy recommendations to individual Member States to strengthen the recovery that began a year ago. The recommendations are based on detailed analyses of each country's situation and provide guidance on how to boost growth, increase competitiveness and create jobs in 2014-2015.
This year, the emphasis has shifted from addressing the urgent problems caused by the crisis to strengthening the conditions for sustainable growth and employment in a post-crisis economy. As part of today's package, which marks the culmination of the fourth European Semester of economic policy coordination, the Commission has also adopted several decisions on Member States' public finances under the Stability and Growth Pact. Taken together, they represent an ambitious set of reforms for the EU economy.
President José Manuel Barroso said: "This is about helping Member States firmly out of the crisis and back to growth, with the country-specific recommendations acting as a compass showing the direction. The efforts and sacrifices made across Europe have started to pay off. Growth is picking up and - while still too modest - we will see a rise in employment from this year onwards. The fundamental challenge for the EU now is political: How do we keep up support for reform as the pressure of the crisis recedes? If politicians show leadership and summon the political will to see reform through – even if it is unpopular - we can deliver a stronger recovery and a better standard of living for everyone."
According to the Commission's analysis, sustained policy efforts at all levels in recent years have put the EU economy on much firmer ground. However, growth will remain uneven and fragile over 2014-2015, so the momentum for reform must be maintained. Over the longer term, the EU's growth potential is still relatively low: high unemployment levels and the difficult social situation will only improve slowly and the large investment gap will take time to be filled.
The 2014 country-specific recommendations
This year, recommendations have been made to 26 countries (excluding Greece and Cyprus, which are implementing economic adjustment programmes). They reflect progress made since the 2013 round of recommendations, which has yielded positive results:
However, because the recovery is still unevenly spread and fragile, structural reforms of our economies need to continue, specifically:
For an overview of the 2014 recommendations by country, see: http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2014/overview_recommendations_2014_by_member_state.pdf
The European Commission has today recommended that the EU Council of Ministers close the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) for six countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands and Slovakia.
The Commission has also published a report analysing the reasons for a planned and forecast breach of the Treaty reference value for public debt (60% of GDP) in the case of Finland. It has concluded that the launch of an EDP is not merited since the excess is due to the country’s contributions to solidarity operations for euro area countries.
In addition, the Commission has concluded that two countries, Poland and Croatia, have taken effective action in response to the Council Recommendations to those countries under the EDP.
Situation of Member States with regard to the Stability and Growth Pact:
Notes: * Early abrogation recommended for NL. ** The UK deadline is fiscal year 2014/2015.
The country-specific recommendations will be discussed by EU leaders and EU ministers in June. They will be formally adopted by the EU's Council of Finance Ministers on 8 July. It will then be up to Member States to implement the recommendations by taking them up when drafting their national budgets and other relevant policies for 2015. The recommendations under the Stability and Growth Pact will be discussed and adopted at the EU's Council of Finance Ministers on 20 June.
For further information:
Country-specific recommendations 2014: http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/making-it-happen/country-specific-recommendations/index_en.htm
Decisions under the Stability and Growth Pact: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/sgp/corrective_arm/index_en.htm