Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 07/03/2018

European Semester Winter Package out

The European Commission has published its annual analysis of the economic and social situation in the Member States, including progress in implementing country-specific recommendations and an assessment of possible imbalances.

From left to right: Valdis Dombrovskis, Marianne Thyssen and Pierre Moscovici

The European economy is expanding robustly and the positive economic outlook is matched by an improved labour market and social situation. This reflects the reforms undertaken by Member States in recent years and provides a window of opportunity to further strengthen the resilience of the EU's economies and societies.

Today's 27 Country Reports (for all Member States except Greece, which is under a stability support programme) provide the annual analysis by Commission staff on the economic and social situation in Member States, including progress made in implementing Country-Specific Recommendations over the years.

For the first time, the Country Reports put a special emphasis on mainstreaming the priorities of the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed in November 2017. A specific focus is put this year on analysing skills challenges and how social safety nets operate at national level.

Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "With the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, we have put investing in skills, reducing inequalities, social fairness and inclusive growth on top of the agenda. We now need to keep track of the performance of the Member States on the principles and rights included in the Pillar, to make them a reality on the ground.”

European Pillar of Social Rights

The social dimension of the European Semester has been further enriched this year by mainstreaming the priorities of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Country Reports also make use of the data gathered via the Social Scoreboard to keep track of employment and social performances. Situations and priorities naturally vary, and the analysis takes account of this diversity. Areas of particular concerns in some Member States include:

  • the provision of adequate skills
  • persistent gender employment gap
  • high labour market segmentation and the risk of in-work poverty
  • the low impact of social transfers on poverty reduction
  • sluggish wage growth
  • and ineffective social dialogue

Next steps

The next step for Member States is to present their economic and social policy priorities in their national reform programmes and stability and/or convergence programmes (setting out budgetary priorities) by mid-April in the light of the challenges identified, also taking into account the priorities of the 2018 Annual Growth Survey and the recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area. 

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