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.
Finland is emerging from a two-year recession. A mild recovery is expected for 2014-2015, conditional upon improvements in the external demand situation, as domestic demand remains weak, and unemployment is expected to keep rising. As highlighted in the 2014 in-depth review presented by the Commission on 5 March 2014, Finland continues to experience macroeconomic imbalances, which require monitoring and policy action.
Finland has made some progress on measures taken to address the 2013 country-specific recommendations, including an ambitious reform agenda to reduce sustainability gap and strengthen conditions for growth. Comprehensive reforms of the municipal structure and health care and social services are being prepared. Moderate wage agreement has been reached and negotiations on pension reform are ongoing. Furthermore, Finland has introduced measures to increase competition and has launched policy initiatives to improve innovation and productivity.
One of Finland’s main policy challenges is the loss in competitiveness over the course of the last decade. In the short term, the main challenge is to attract new investments, in order to improve employment and productivity and to promote the diversification of industry. A longer term challenge is presented by Finland's ageing population. To address it, it will be important to improve labour market participation and the sustainability of the pension system. In the case of the municipal structure and social and health care systems, efficiency could be strengthened by continuing to pursue the ongoing reforms. See how Finland compares with other EU Member States in key areas.
2014 European Commission's recommendations in brief
The Commission has issued five country-specific recommendations to Finland to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: public finances; cost-effectiveness of public services; labour market; competition in product and services markets; network industries.