European Semester in 2017

This page contains a timeline of events and documents relating to the European Semester in 2017, in reverse chronological order.


11 July

Council formally adopts country-specific recommendations for 2017

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council formally adopted the country-specific recommendations for 2017 at its meeting on 11 July 2017. This was the final stage of the 2017 European Semester. 

23 June

European Council endorses the country-specific recommendations for 2017

The European Council endorsed the country-specific recommendations for 2017, following their approval by the General Affairs Council on 20 June.  

The recommendations will be formally adopted by the Council at its next meeting. The member states are expected to take them into account in their national decision-making and plans for next year.

16 June

Council approves recommendations for EU member states

On 16 June, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council approved 27 recommendations for the economic and employment policies of each EU member state (Greece is implementing an economic adjustment programme and is therefore not subject to surveillance under the European Semester).

The recommendations cover national reform programmes, which each country prepared earlier this year, and the Council opinions on the stability programmes prepared by euro area member states and the convergence programmes prepared by non-euro area countries. Where relevant, they also contain recommendations relating to the macroeconomic imbalance procedure.

The Council differs on a number of recommendations from the European Commission. These differences are explained in the so-called 'comply or explain note'.

The approved recommendations are to be forwarded to the General Affairs Council for approval on 20 June and will subsequently be submitted for the European Council's approval on 22-23 June.

23 May

Council adopts conclusions on in-depth reviews in 2017, reviews the implementation of recommendations in 2016

The Council adopted conclusions on the results of the in-depth-reviews of macroeconomic imbalances. The conclusions also contain a review of the implementation of the country-specific recommendations from 2016.

This year the in-depth reviews were carried out in 13 EU countries. The aim was to determine whether the potential macroeconomic imbalances, identified by a set of indicators at the end of 2016, exist, and if so, what their nature is.

The main findings of 2017 reviews:

  • Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy and Portugal are experiencing excessive economic imbalances
  • Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden are experiencing economic imbalances that are not considered excessive
  • Finland is not experiencing economic imbalances

In 12 member states, where macroeconomic imbalances have been identified, a specific monitoring will be carried out.

Greece is not included in these reviews, because it is currently implementing a macroeconomic adjustment programme, which is monitored under a different arrangement.

22 May

European Commission issues draft country-specific recommendations for 2017

The European Commission published the proposals for draft Council recommendations for each EU member state for 2017.

After the proposed recommendations have been discussed and adopted by the Council, the member states will be expected to reflect them in their national policies in the next 12 months. 

Although the recommendations differ for each country, the most common challenges identified by the Commission are related to slow growth, disparities within and among the EU countries, and uncertainty, which is mostly due to external factors.

Council discusses country reports, adopts the recommendation for the euro area

The Council discussed the country reports and how to improve implementation of country-specific recommendations. The discussion focused on measures for improving the business environment.

The Council also adopted the recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area for 2017.

9 March

European Council endorses policy priorities for 2017

The European Council (heads of state or government of the EU member states) endorsed policy priorities for 2017, as set out in the annual growth survey, and the draft Council recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area for 2017.

The European Council invited the member states to reflect these priorities in their national policies, specifically in their 2017 national reform programmes and stability or convergence programmes, which are expected under the European Semester rules.

7 March

Council discusses the 2017 European Semester synthesis report

The General Affairs Council examined a synthesis report, which summarizes the contributions to the 2017 European Semester exercise by different Council configurations. 

The Council also agreed to forward the Council recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area to the European Council for endorsement.

22 February

Analysis of economic situation and macroeconomic imbalances: country reports

The European Commission published 27 country reports (Greece's economy is evaluated separately, in the context of its current economic adjustment programme), analysing each country's economic situation. The country reports of 13 member states also contain conclusions from in-depth reviews of macroeconomic imbalances.

The country reports analyse progress made by each member state in implementing reforms that were recommended to them by the Council in the context of last year's European Semester (in the country-specific recommendations issued in July).

The reports for 13 of the countries also contain the results of in-depth reviews of their macroeconomic situation and an analysis of macroeconomic imbalances identified last year. 

The conclusions from the in-depth reviews of the 13 member states examined this year show that:

  • Finland is not at present experiencing imbalances within the meaning of the macroeconomic imbalance procedure (MIP)
  • Germany, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden are experiencing economic imbalances
  • Bulgaria, France, Croatia, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus are experiencing excessive economic imbalances

The Council will analyse the reports and issue its conclusions. These, in turn, are expected to be reflected in the member states' national reform programmes and stability or convergence programmes for 2017.

27 January

Council adopts conclusions on growth prognosis and macroeconomic imbalances

On 27 January the Economic and Financial Affairs Council adopted conclusions on the annual growth survey for 2017 and on the alert mechanism report.

It also approved a draft recommendation for the economic policy of the euro area. The draft recommendation will be submitted to the European Council for consideration and will be adopted by the Council in March.


16 November

Council receives documents for 2017 European Semester

The European Commission published the 'Autumn package' of documents concerning the European Semester in 2017.

Annual growth survey for 2017

The survey outlines the economic and social priorities on which the EU as a whole and its member states need to focus in 2017.

The survey concludes that economic growth in the EU has been moderate in 2016 and forecasts that it will continue in the coming years. The EU has seen an increase in job creation (8 million new jobs have been created since 2013), with the unemployment rate falling to 8.6% in September 2016. Total investment has kept growing over the past few years, while public deficits decreased to around 2% in 2016 and the public debt is expected to decline slightly in 2017-2018.

Among the problems that need attention, the survey lists high levels of debt, incomplete structural reforms, ageing, high levels of inequality and high unemployment rates in some member states.

The survey proposes that the EU member states intensify their efforts on the following priorities in 2017:

  • re-launching investment
  • pursuing structural reforms 
  • ensuring responsible public fiscal policies

Emphasis is also placed on ensuring social fairness as a way to stimulate more inclusive growth and on the need to strengthen competitiveness, innovation and productivity.

Joint employment report

The Joint Employment report concludes that the employment and social situation in the EU is improving against the backdrop of a moderate economic recovery.

Most labour market indicators saw an improvement in 2016. The unemployment rate kept falling and in September 2016 was below 9% (10% in the euro area). Youth unemployment and long-term unemployment also continued to decline, although they remain high in several member states.

Alert mechanism report 2017

The alert mechanism report starts the annual macroeconomic imbalances procedure. Its aim is to identify and, if needed, address imbalances that may impede the proper functioning of the EU's economy.

In 2017 the European Commission intends to carry out in-depth reviews in 13 member states: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. The aim is to assess whether these countries may be experiencing excessive macroeconomic imbalances.

Greece is not part of the 2017 exercise, because its economic policies are being evaluated in the context of its current macroeconomic adjustment programme.

Draft euro area recommendation for 2017

The draft recommendation for 2017, among other measures, proposes that the euro area should deliver an overall positive fiscal stance, implement growth-supporting policies and agree on a European deposit insurance scheme.