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.
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.
On the basis of a new scoreboard of key employment and social indicators, the Commission's recommendations draw attention to reforms needed to support job creation, strengthen the resilience of labour markets and address poverty and social inclusion.
Providing a comprehensive Youth Guarantee — and not just a set of temporary ad hoc measures — is a major structural reform to help young people transition from education to the labour market. Member States' public employment services are key to the success of the Youth Guarantee.
All Member States endorsed the principle of the Youth Guarantee in April 2013, and every country has since submitted a plan outlining how this will happen in practice. Member States are making significant efforts to implement their plans but Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Croatia, Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria and Ireland still face particular challenges, which is why they are highlighted in the country-specific recommendations.
The country-specific recommendations will be discussed by EU leaders and EU ministers in June. They will be formally adopted by EU finance ministers at Ecofin Council on 8 July. It will then be up to Member States to implement the recommendations by taking them up when drafting their national budgets and other relevant policies for 2015. The recommendations under the Stability and Growth Pact will be discussed and adopted at the EU's Council of Finance Ministers on 20 June.