Economic and fiscal policies: Council approves 2017 country-specific recommendations
On 16 June 2017, the Council approved its 2017 draft recommendations and opinions on the member states' economic and fiscal policies.
Approval of the texts is a key stage in the 'European Semester', an annual policy monitoring process. Recommendations coving economic and fiscal as well as employment policies will be referred to the European Council for endorsement at its meeting on 22 and 23 June. The Council is expected to formally adopt them on 11 July 2017.
In March, the European Council endorsed policy priorities for the 2017 European Semester, as identified by the Commission in its annual growth survey:
- boosting investment;
- pursuing structural reforms;
- responsible fiscal policies.
An annual process
The European Semester involves simultaneous monitoring of the member states' economic, employment and fiscal policies during a six-month period every year.
In the light of policy guidance given by the European Council annually in March, the member states present each year in April:
- National reform programmes for their economic policies. These set out a macroeconomic scenario for the medium term, national targets for implementing the EU's "Europe 2020" strategy for jobs and growth, identification of the main obstacles to growth, and measures for growth-enhancing initiatives in the short term;
- Stability or convergence programmes for their fiscal policies. Euro area countries present stability programmes, whereas non-euro member states present convergence programmes. The programmes set out medium-term budgetary objectives, the main assumptions about expected economic developments, a description of fiscal and economic policy measures, and an analysis of how changes in assumptions will affect fiscal and debt positions.
The Council then approves draft country-specific recommendations and opinions (CSRs), for endorsement by the European Council. It provides explanations in cases where the recommendations do not comply with those proposed by the Commission.
The 2017 CSRs are addressed to 27 of the EU's 28 member states. To avoid duplication there is no CSR for Greece, as it is subject to enhanced policy surveillance under an economic adjustment programme.
In March 2017, the Council adopted a specific draft recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area. It did so at an earlier stage so that eurozone issues be taken into account when approving the country-specific recommendations.
The draft recommendations and opinions were approved at a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council. They will now be referred to the European Council.
The 2017 European Semester is due to conclude with adoption of the country-specific recommendations on 11 July.
The draft recommendations can be found in the following documents: Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; The Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom.