Package of recommendations for each of the 27 EU countries and for the eurozone offers guidance on 2012-2013 domestic budgets and economic policies.
The Commission’s country-specific recommendations are in response to plans each government submitted earlier this year on their measures for budgetary and economic reforms over the next 12 months.
They take account of each country’s economic situation and provide specific advice on stimulating economic growth and job creation.
An overall assessment of progress made so far finds countries are reforming their budgets in line with the priorities set by the 27 governments. Several countries are undertaking major economic reforms, which include structural changes to their labour markets. Many are also reforming their financial sectors.
However, more needs to be done, and quickly, to deal with weakening economies and the eurozone’s debt crisis. Governments need to implement additional growth-friendly measures and bring down unemployment. More measures are needed to help young people find work or get training.
Governments have not done enough to allow the EU to meet its agreed targets for employment, research and development, education and the fight against poverty.
Greater action must be taken to open up business opportunities and to tap into new sources of jobs, such as in the services, energy and digital sectors.
The EU needs to raise the skill levels of its workforce, match them with market needs, and boost innovation. More has to be done to sustain economic recovery and to tackle the consequences of an ageing population.
The recommendations are part of the ‘European semester’, a six-month process that is conducted every year during which EU governments consult each other on their budgets and economic policies.
As part of the process, the Commission also issued general recommendations for the eurozone .
Completing the semester
The European Council will meet on 28-29 June to discuss the recommendations. Once these are approved in July, it will be up to each country to incorporate them in their national budgets and economic policies for 2012-13.
The Commission and other EU countries will then monitor how each country implements these measures as part of the semester’s peer review process.