The Annual Growth Survey launches the European Semester by setting out the broad EU economic priorities for the year to come. It is the first step in the annual cycle.
The Semester process makes sure that Member States keep their budgetary and economic policies in line with their EU commitments (debt and deficit commitments under the Stability and Growth Pact, economic reform plans enshrined in their 2014 country-specific recommendations, and the long-term growth and jobs targets in the Europe 2020 strategy).
The Annual Growth Survey will feed into national economic and budgetary decisions, which Member States set out in Stability and Convergence Programmes (under the Stability and Growth Pact) and National Reform Programmes (under the Europe 2020 strategy) in April. These programmes form the basis for the European Commission's proposals for country-specific recommendations in May-June 2015, which are adopted by the Council.
The euro area countries have also sent their draft national budgets to the Commission for its opinion on how they fit with the countries' commitments. The Commission's assessments will soon be made public, and will be discussed by the Eurogroup.