The Country-specific Recommendations are documents prepared by the European Commission for each country, analysing its economic situation and providing recommendations on measures it should adopt over the coming 18 months. They are tailored to the particular issues the Member State is facing and cover a broad range of topics: the state of public finances, reforms of pension systems, measures to create jobs and to fight unemployment, education and innovation challenges, etc. The final adoption of Country-specific Recommendations prepared by the Commission is done at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council.
The Netherlands has made some progress on meeting the 2012 CSRs, particularly on fiscal consolidation and the long-term sustainability of public finances. Some progress has also been made in response to the recommendations concerning the labour market and the housing market. Good progress has been made in response to the recommendation on innovation and science/business links. However, further measures remain necessary in all areas where the recommendations have not yet been fully achieved.
The policy response needs to strike a balance between the need to make adjustments and pursue reforms and the desirability of supporting near-term activity. Within the fiscal constraints, efforts to promote innovation and safeguard growth-enhancing expenditure will be key to achieving a balanced adjustment. Managing the transition in the housing market gradually and at a sustainable pace, yet with a sufficient level of ambition, will be a defining element of such a strategy.
The immediate policy challenge for the Netherlands will be to contain balance sheet adjustments, to restore confidence and harness growth while simultaneously stabilising public finances. There are considerable challenges when it comes to fiscal policy, the labour market, the housing market, investments in research and development (R&D) and education.
2013 European Commission's recommendations for the Netherlands in brief
The Commission has issued four country specific recommendations (CSRs) to the Netherlands to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: