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.
In the last year, the UK government has made significant progress in designing and legislating for an extensive reform agenda in financial regulation, spatial planning, education and welfare. The reforms are relevant and ambitious in their stated aims, but in most cases, it is not yet fully clear how effective they will be. Indicators on housing, access to finance and infrastructure have been either stagnant or deteriorating, linked in large part to the challenging economic environment.
In the short to medium term, the UK faces considerable challenges and tensions in reconciling needs for deleveraging, maintaining financial stability and avoiding compromising investment and growth. Fiscal consolidation remains a pressing challenge for the UK, and needs to be balanced with fairness and growth-promoting investment. To provide the conditions for sustainable, investment- and export-led growth, the UK also needs to address the economy’s structural weaknesses, including a lack of housing supply, skills gaps, and the need to renew and upgrade transport and energy infrastructure. These and other shortcomings also contribute to the UK's consistently weak net export position. The current account deficit grew to 3.7% of GDP in 2012 and the UK has a large goods trade deficit (-6.9% of GDP).
2013 European Commission's recommendations for the United Kingdom in brief
The Commission has issued six country specific recommendations (CSRs) to the UK to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: