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.
The Swedish economy remains one of the most competitive in the EU and worldwide, and has weathered the crisis relatively well in terms of growth, employment and public finances. On 5 March 2014, in its 2014 in-depth review of the Swedish economy, the Commission concluded that the country is still experiencing macroeconomic imbalances when it comes to private sector debt and the housing market, which require monitoring and policy action.
Sweden has made some progress in addressing the 2013 country-specific recommendations. Most progress has been made in addressing fiscal policy and labour market related issues. Public finances remain sound in terms of debt and budget balance. The Swedish government has also adopted promising measures to address the challenges of the labour market, notably by aiming to integrate the most excluded groups, such as young, low-educated people and migrants from outside the EU. Sweden’s progress on recommendations concerning private sector indebtedness and the inefficiencies of its housing market, however, has been limited.
To ensure that economic growth remains sustainable in the medium term, challenges pertaining to private sector debt and related uncertainties in the housing market need to be addressed. Moreover, further efforts are needed to improve the participation of non-EU immigrants and less-educated young men and women in the labour market. While the Swedish government has taken steps to address these points, it appears that difficulties may be linked to structural shortcomings in the education sector. See how Sweden compares with other EU Member States in key areas
2014 European Commission's recommendations in brief
The Commission has issued four country-specific recommendations to Sweden to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: public finances; household indebtedness; housing market; labour market, education and training.