The European Commission has today adopted a series of economic policy recommendations to individual Member States to strengthen the recovery that began a year ago.
The recommendations are based on detailed analyses of each country's situation and provide guidance on how to boost growth, increase competitiveness and create jobs in 2014-2015.
This year, the emphasis has shifted from addressing the urgent problems caused by the crisis to strengthening the conditions for sustainable growth and employment in a post-crisis economy. As part of today's package, which marks the culmination of the fourth European Semester of economic policy coordination, the Commission has also adopted several decisions on Member States' public finances under the Stability and Growth Pact. Taken together, they represent an ambitious set of reforms for the EU economy.
President José Manuel Barroso said: "This is about helping Member States firmly out of the crisis and back to growth, with the country-specific recommendations acting as a compass showing the direction. The efforts and sacrifices made across Europe have started to pay off. Growth is picking up and - while still too modest - we will see a rise in employment from this year onwards. The fundamental challenge for the EU now is political: How do we keep up support for reform as the pressure of the crisis recedes? If politicians show leadership and summon the political will to see reform through - even if it is unpopular - we can deliver a stronger recovery and a better standard of living for everyone."
According to the Commission's analysis, sustained policy efforts at all levels in recent years have put the EU economy on much firmer ground. However, growth will remain uneven and fragile over 2014-2015, so the momentum for reform must be maintained. Over the longer term, the EU's growth potential is still relatively low: high unemployment levels and the difficult social situation will only improve slowly and the large investment gap will take time to be filled.