Report sets 10 priorities for tackling the bloc's main economic challenges, launching the first ever ‘European semester'.
The annual growth survey is the first step in a new system to help national governments more closely coordinate their responses to the EU's main economic challenges.
It is part of the new 'European semester', an annual six-month cycle during which governments benefit from the input of their peers at EU-level as they formulate their budgetary and economic policies. Working together on economic policy from the get-go will make it easier for EU countries to pursue shared targets and address common concerns.
The survey identifies 10 priorities EU countries should focus on to boost the economy and raise employment in line with the EU’s stability and growth pact and its new strategy for growth and jobs, Europe 2020. These include getting the unemployed back into work, reforming pension systems, reigning in public debt and promoting the full use of Europe's integrated economy.
Next steps for the European semester:
March – EU governments agree on economic priorities, based on the survey.
April – EU governments submit the following year’s draft budget strategies for evaluation by the Commission.
June and July – Council of EU ministers (which represents the EU governments) issues country-specific advice in light of the evaluation and joins the European Council in providing policy advice before countries finalise their budgets as normal through their national parliaments.
An EU-wide survey has found that 77% of Europeans think stronger coordination of economic and fiscal policies among member countries would help fight the economic crisis.