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.
Slovakia is at a crossroads. For well over a decade, its growth rates were amongst the highest in the EU and it experienced one of the speediest recoveries from the financial crisis. But with real GDP growth rate expected to remain below the pre-crisis levels and persistently high unemployment, it must strengthen domestic production and diversify sources of growth, whilst building on progress made in terms of structural reforms and public finances.
In the last year, Slovakia has made progress on fiscal and structural policies. The budget deficit is on a downward path after the adoption of a sizeable consolidation package. There was a major pension reform to increase the statutory retirement age in line with life expectancy. An action plan to combat tax fraud was also adopted. Reforms to boost employment and growth have been launched but remain at an initial stage, particularly those that tackle public administration reform, vocational education and public employment services.
Despite the progress made, more needs to be done in the medium to long term to bolster growth potential and ensure that public finances are sustainably managed. Further progress is needed on labour market, energy and public administration. The efficient use of EU structural funds will be crucial in financing key reforms to increase growth potential in many areas.
2013 European Commission's recommendations for Slovakia in brief
The Commission has issued six country specific recommendations (CSRs) to Slovakia to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: