The country-specific recommendations are documents prepared by the European Commission for each Member State, which analyse its economic situation and provide tailored policy advice on measures that it should adopt over the coming 18 months. They cover the particular challenges that the Member State is facing in a broad range of areas: the state of public finances, reforms of pension systems, measures to create jobs and to fight unemployment, education and innovation challenges, efficiency of the public administration, competition etc. The final adoption of country-specific recommendations prepared by the Commission takes place at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council.
After three years of economic standstill, Denmark's GDP growth is estimated to be on an upward path. Thus, the economy seems to be moving out of stagnation, with unemployment falling slightly, confidence indicators improving and improvements in the housing market. The 2014 in-depth review presented by the Commission on 5 March 2014 highlighted that the challenges faced by the country no longer constitute substantial macroeconomic risks. However, Denmark’s recovery is to a large extent dependent on economic improvements in the economies of its main trading partners.
Denmark has made some progress in addressing the 2013 country-specific recommendations. Some progress has been made towards improving the situation of groups at the margins of the labour market and advancing the cost-effectiveness of the education system. The 2012 reform of disability pensions and of the subsidised ‘flexi-job’ scheme has begun to show results, the cash benefit reform took effect from 1 January 2014, a sickness benefit reform was agreed in December 2013 and based on the recommendations of an expert group on active labour market policies, the government presented a reform proposal in April 2014. Regarding vocational education and training, a wide range of initiatives are expected to come into force in mid-2015. Progress on competition issues has been limited.
The overarching challenge to secure Denmark’s future relative welfare level is boosting productivity. The challenges related to the labour market and education system that were identified in 2013 also remain valid for 2014, as reforms are still at an early stage and have yet to bear fruit. See how Denmark compares with other EU Member States in key areas.
2014 European Commission's recommendations in brief
The Commission has issued three country-specific recommendations to Denmark to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of public finances; productivity and competition; labour market; education and training.