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European institutions and bodies

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Each EU institution has a part to play in making sure the EU is moving in the right direction to hit the Europe 2020 targets.

The European Semester: Who does what and when?

European Council

With its overview of EU policies and the interdependences between the EU and its Member States, the European Council is responsible for steering the strategy through:

  • annual overall assessments of progress at EU and national level, at its Spring meeting. It takes stock of the overall macroeconomic situation and progress towards the 5 EU-wide headline targets as well as the flagship initiatives. It gives policy guidance for the EU and the eurozone as a whole on the basis of the Annual Growth Survey presented by the Commission. It issues guidance at EU level covering fiscal, macroeconomic, structural reform and growth-enhancing policy areas.
  • discussion of economic developments and priorities for the strategy.
  • At its June meeting, endorsement of country specific recommendations, on the basis of a proposal by the Commission.

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Council of the EU (ministers)

Monitoring and peer review  are the main task for the Council, where national ministers responsible for the relevant policy areas (e.g. competitiveness, employment and education) discuss implementation of the national reform programme in their area of competence. (progress towards targets and flagship initiatives)

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The Commission

  • monitors the situation each year on the basis of a set of indicators, developed by Eurostat in cooperation with other services of the European Commission, showing overall progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets
  • produces an annual growth survey and assesses country reports and stability / convergence programmes. (The survey is the main input for discussions at the Spring meeting of the European Council).
  • issues country specific policy recommendations and, if necessary, policy warnings to Member States (June), based on its analysis of their reports on progress towards national targets.

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Representations of the European Commission in the Member States

Every EU capital city has a European Commission Representation which helps to bring the Commission closer to what is going on the Member States. The Commission has now posted specialist "European Semester Officers" in each Representation.

The European Semester Officers are economic policy experts who can help to explain the sometimes complex details of EU economic governance to national stakeholders. Their mission is also to get a balanced picture of the challenges that the Member State is facing so that the annual country-specific recommendations will best reflect the realities on the ground. They work together with all relevant groups across society, including ministries, national, regional and local parliaments, social partners and other interest groups.

To find a European Semester Officer in your country, please consult the websites of the European Commission Representations.

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European Parliament

The European Parliament plays an important role, including in mobilising national parliaments to play their part. With the new rules on economic governance, the European Parliament can establish an Economic Dialogue with the Council and the Commission.

Essentially this means that European Parliament members can scrutinise and request answers from the two institutions on their proposals and decisions at any time during the process. This makes the process more transparent and the Council and Commission more accountable.

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European Economic and Social Committee

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) gives shape to the participation of national social partners and civil society in the practical implementation of the Europe2020 Strategy. It focuses on co-ownership of national societal forces in Europe2020 and on mobilising transborder networks. The EESC has a Europe2020 Steering Committee with the mandate:

  • to coordinate and ensure consistency of the work carried out in the Committee, and in the Opinions on issues related to Europe2020;
  • to organise meetings with national ESC´s and similar organisations to prepare joint initiatives and reports focusing on Europe2020;
  • to coordinate with EESC Members and the Communication group on a Europe2020 communication by organised civil society.

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Committee of the Regions

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) gives support for and policy input into the implementation of the strategy from the standpoint of EU cities and regions, e.g. by adopting Opinions on related initiatives and policies, by organising stakeholder surveys, consultations and thematic conferences, and by working together with the EU institutions.

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European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund

These two institutions play a central role in developing new financing instruments to respond to business needs. Both can back a ‛virtuous circle’ of profitable funding for innovation and entrepreneurship, right through from early stage investments to listing on stock markets. This can be done in partnership with the many public initiatives and schemes already in place at national level.

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