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.
Austria’s economic activity is expected to rise in 2014, as domestic demand strengthens and exports increase. Low interest rates and stable corporate liquidity are expected to favour a rebound in investment. With inflation easing and the job market improving, growth of real disposable income should support growth in consumption. Unemployment is foreseen to remain at around 5% due to a parallel increase in the participation rate.
Overall, Austria has made some progress in addressing the 2013 country-specific recommendations. Most of the reforms will have an impact only in the medium to long term however. Work has continued on the implementation of health care reform and policies to extend working lives, to improve educational outcomes and tertiary education and to help realise the labour market potential of women, older workers and people with a migrant background. Some progress has also been made as regards the restructuring of the banking sector.
Austria’s challenges remain broadly the same as last year and Austria needs to address the medium fiscal sustainability risks through more decisive and structural policy measures and it faces medium-term challenges with age-related costs (pensions and health care), the labour market, product and services markets as well as the financial sector. See how Austria 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 Austria to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: public finances; pensions and health care; taxation, labour market, education and training; competition in the services sector and public administration; bank restructuring.