The biggest challenge now facing Europe's economy is how to sustain the recovery that is now underway. This is the main message of this year’s Annual Growth Survey (AGS), adopted by the Commission.
Its adoption kicks off the fourth European Semester of economic policy coordination in an environment where growth is beginning to return and Member States are making progress on correcting the imbalances that developed before the crisis.
That is why the Commission maintains its balanced strategy for growth and jobs, and its focus on five main priorities over the coming year:
Draft Joint Employment Report: Focus on jobs and social developments
The draft Joint Employment Report, annexed to the AGS, shows that there are some encouraging signs that unemployment has stopped rising, and that Member States have made progress in the last year on labour market reforms.
However unemployment is still unacceptably high - especially youth and long-term unemployment - and, according to data presented in a new scoreboard of employment and social indicators included in the report for the first time, persistent divergences in unemployment, youth unemployment, household income, inequality and poverty rates have built up across Member States, particularly within the euro area.
It is therefore crucial to keep up efforts to: