José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, gave a press conference on the EU country-specific recommendations. The President presented a package of recommendations for budgetary measures and economic reforms to enhance financial stability, boost growth and create employment across the EU.
The recommendations were country-specific, taking account of the individual situation of each Member State. The EC had also issued recommendations for the euro area as a whole, and set out its vision for the EU-level policy action needed to complement the national measures to deliver an ambitious, two-tiered EU growth initiative.
A number of key messages emerge from this second set of annual country-specific recommendations. On public finances, Member States were on the whole taking the necessary action to restore sustainability, but in several cases consolidation should be more growth-friendly. Unemployment, and in particular youth unemployment, was a severe problem – and though there was no quick fix, immediate action should be taken to increase productivity and better match skills and training to labour market needs. Many Member States were undertaking major structural reforms, including of their labour markets. These were helping to boost competitiveness and to correct macro-economic imbalances within Europe.
However much greater action was needed across the EU to unlock the growth potential, create opportunities for business development, and unleash the job-creating potential of the services and energy sectors and the digital economy.
Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, Algirdas Šemeta, Member of the EC in charge of Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud, and László Andor, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, then gave a joint press conference on "Action for stability, growth and jobs: European Semester 2012".