The 2019 European Semester cycle of economic and social policy coordination begins against a backdrop of sustained but less dynamic growth in a climate of high uncertainty. A lot has been achieved since 2014 but more must be done to support inclusive and sustainable growth and job creation while enhancing the resilience of Member States' economies.
At EU level, this demands taking the decisions required to further strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union. At national level, there is a pressing need to use the current growth momentum to build up fiscal buffers and reduce debt.
Investment and structural reforms need to focus even more on boosting productivity and growth potential. These actions will provide the conditions for sustained macro-financial stability and serve EU's long-term competitiveness. This will, in turn, create the conditions for more and better jobs, greater social fairness and better living standards for Europeans.
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “The economic recovery of recent years has been particularly job-intensive and unemployment is reaching record lows. At the same time, more and more people are participating in the labour market. The activity rate has reached a record high and has even surpassed that of the USA. The conditions are now in place for us to invest more in our societies, in our people, so that this recovery becomes permanent and benefits everyone, including the generations to come.”
2019 Annual Growth Survey
The Annual Growth Survey (AGS), which sets the general economic and social priorities for the upcoming year, calls on the EU and its Member States to take decisive and concerted policy action to deliver inclusive and sustainable growth.
At national level, policy efforts should focus on delivering high-quality investment, and reforms that increase productivity growth, inclusiveness and institutional capacity, while continuing to ensure macro-financial stability and sound public finances.
At EU level, the priorities are deepening the Single Market, completing the architecture of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and advancing the principles set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights.
2019 Draft Joint Employment Report
The draft Joint Employment Report, which analyses the employment and social situation in Europe, shows continued job creation, decreasing unemployment and an improving social situation across the EU. The Report also includes the findings of the Social Scoreboard, which analyses the performances of the Member States in light of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
What are the next steps?
The Commission invites the Council to discuss the package and endorse the guidance offered today. It looks forward to a fruitful debate with the European Parliament on the policy priorities for the EU and euro area, as well as to further engagement with social partners and stakeholders at all levels in the context of the European Semester.