On 9 July 2019, the Council adopted its 2019 recommendations and opinions on the member states’ economic, employment and fiscal policies.
The overall objective of the recommendations is to encourage member states to increase their growth potential by modernising their economies and further strengthen their resilience.
Despite global uncertainties and less favourable conditions, all member states’ economies are projected to grow in 2020 and the level of unemployment is at a record low. In this context, the country specific recommendations focus on implementing effective structural reforms, boosting investment strategies and encouraging responsible fiscal policies.
Today’s adoption is the final stage of the 2019 ‘European Semester’, an annual economic policy coordination process. The European Council held a discussion on the country-specific recommendation on 20 June. The employment policy parts were approved by the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on 8 July.
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. Eurozone countries present stability programmes, whereas non-euro member states present convergence programmes. These 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 are susceptible to affect fiscal and debt positions.
The Council then adopts country-specific recommendations (CSRs) and opinions. It provides explanations in cases where the recommendations do not correspond with those proposed by the Commission.
For the first time and following Greece’s exit from its third economic adjustment programme in August 2018, the 2019 CSRs are addressed to all 28 member states.
In March 2019, the Council adopted a specific recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area. It did so at an earlier stage so that euro-area issues be taken into account when approving the country-specific recommendations.
The draft recommendations can be found in the following documents: