On 7 June 2011, the Commission adopted 27 sets of country-specific recommendations – plus one for the euro area as a whole – to help Member States gear up their economic and social policies to deliver on growth, jobs and public finances.
Earlier this year, Member States and the Commission agreed on 10 key priorities to face the current crisis while paving the way for a more sustainable economy. As situations vary from one country to another, the Commission is today recommending targeted measures for each Member State. This should help each country to focus on strategic levers in the next 12 to 18 months, and thus boost EU economy as a whole.
These sets of recommendations are part of the European Semester, whereby – for the first time this year – Member States and the Commission have been coordinating their economic and budgetary policies. Once priorities agreed at EU level, Member States presented their nationals programmes which the Commission has now fully assessed through these tailored, targeted and measurable recommendations.
Overall, Member States have sought to reflect the agreed EU priorities in their programmes and their macroeconomic assumptions are broadly realistic. However, national programmes often lack ambition and specificity. Many Member States need to be more ambitious on fiscal consolidation, while maintaining growth-enhancing measures (research and innovation, business environment, competition in the services sector). On labour markets, more efforts are needed to increase labour-force participation, combat structural unemployment, reduce youth unemployment and early school-leaving and ensure wages reflect productivity.
The recommendations will be debated and endorsed by the European Council on 23-24 June, after discussion in the ECOFIN and EPSCO Councils. Implementation will be monitored over the course of the coming year by the Commission and by Member States through a rigorous and ongoing peer-review process. The Commission will assess progress at EU level in its next Annual Growth Survey in January 2012 and for each Member State in its next set of country-specific recommendations in June 2012.