The draft budgetary plans also show how governments plan to take on board the economic policy recommendations that the Commission proposes each spring.

Upon reception of the draft budget plans the Commission assesses them against the budget commitments of each country. Finance ministers then use this analysis to decide whether any of the Euro area countries need to make changes before they finalise their national budgets.

It's a process that builds trust between governments and ensures that rules agreed amongst countries that share the common currency are being faithfully implemented.

This is the final stage of the European Semester, the EU's annual cycle of economic and budgetary policy coordination. The cycle starts in November when the Commission publishes its Annual Growth Survey, which sets the EU's economic and social priorities for the year to come. The Commission publishes its Alert Mechanism Report at the same time. It screens national economies for trends that, if not addressed, could prove harmful to themselves or others.