Today, the Commission adopted the 2018 Annual Work Programme defining reform support measures that will be funded through the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). In 2018, the SRSP will provide technical support to 24 Member States to carry out more than 140 projects. This comes in addition to more than 150 projects selected in 2017.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "While Europe's economy has strengthened and is on a steady growth path, further structural reforms are needed to make our economies more stable, inclusive, productive and resilient. Today's decision will enable us to continue providing support to EU Member States to prepare, design and implement growth-enhancing reforms."
The SRSP Annual Work Programme sets out the priorities, objectives, expected results, and outlines actions that will be implemented through the Programme. In 2018, technical support will for example be provided to help Member States reform budgetary systems, modernise public administration and enhance the quality and efficiency of national judicial systems, as well as to help fight against fraud, corruption and money laundering. Further support will be deployed to better manage natural resources and resource efficiency, and to implement Energy Union initiatives. Numerous Member States will also benefit from support to implement reforms of healthcare and social welfare systems. In addition, Member States will be assisted with the development of capital markets, reforms of insolvency frameworks and with strengthening their ability to deal with non-performing loans.
This year, Member States' requests for technical support exceeded five times the available amount and the number of Member States that will benefit from technical support under the SRSP has increased substantially compared to 2017. To be able to accommodate more requests, the Commission proposed in December to increase the funding available for technical support activities.
The support provided by the Commission for structural reforms is closely linked to the European Semester framework, as the SRSP is also intended to improve the implementation of reforms highlighted in the Country-Specific Recommendations and Country Reports. Examples of technical support provided in 2017 and earlier are outlined in the 2018 Country Reports, published today.
The Commission created the Structural Reform Support Service in 2015 to support Member States in the preparation, design and implementation of institutional, structural and administrative reforms. The Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) manages a dedicated support programme, the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP), with a budget of €142.8 million over the years 2017-2020. The Programme entered into force in May 2017. The support provided through the Programme is available to all EU Member States upon their request and requires no co-financing.
As part of its proposals to deepen Europe's Economic and Monetary Union put forward in December 2017, the Commission proposed to increase the SRSP budget until 2020 by €80 million. An additional €80 million is expected to come through voluntary transfers by Member States from their technical assistance component under the European Structural and Investment Funds. This would increase the available budget for support activities to €300 million until 2020, thus allowing the SRSP to respond to the greater than expected demand for technical support and to provide support for reforms in non-euro-area Member States on their way to joining the euro.
Factsheet: Structural Reform Support Service
Press release: European Semester Winter package