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.
Economic growth in the United Kingdom rose throughout 2013 although it was driven mainly by growth in household consumption. Growth is projected to become firmly established in 2014 and 2015, with some rebalancing towards investment. The labour market performed strongly and inflation pressures abated. The United Kingdom is recommended to correct its excessive deficit by the fiscal year 2014-2015 at the latest. As highlighted in the 2014 in-depth review presented by the Commission on 5 March 2014, the United Kingdom also continues to experience macroeconomic imbalances, which require monitoring and policy action.
Overall, the United Kingdom has made some progress in addressing the 2013 country-specific recommendations. It has taken various policy measures to address youth unemployment, child care, welfare reform, financing of SMEs and its infrastructural needs. The authorities are implementing appropriate policies but need to remain vigilant to any challenges that may arise during implementation. Challenges remain in relation to the housing market, including the need to increase the supply of houses to help dampen rapid rises in house prices, and the need to raise investment in infrastructure.
The United Kingdom needs to secure the strong macroeconomic outlook in 2014 and 2015 over the medium term through effective policies to address long-standing structural challenges, particularly in relation to the supply of housing, infrastructural investment and skills and education. See how the United Kingdom compares with other EU Member States in key areas.
2014 European Commission's recommendations in brief
The Commission has issued six country-specific recommendations to the United Kingdom to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: public finances; housing market; labour market, education and training; welfare reform and child care; financial sector; network industries.