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New EU growth strategy to be based on 'competitive sustainability'

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New EU growth strategy to be based on 'competitive sustainability'

Gentiloni - Dombrovskis - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - The new von der Leyen Commission presented a rebooted growth strategy Tuesday focused on promoting competitive sustainability and building a European economy 'that works for people and the planet'.

The Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy sets out the economic and employment policy strategy for the EU, placing sustainability and social inclusion at the heart of the EU's economic policy-making, in line with the priorities of the European Green Deal recently unveiled.

The Commission says its news strategy aims to 'ensure that Europe remains the home of the world's most advanced welfare systems, becomes the first climate-neutral continent and is a vibrant hub of innovation and competitive entrepreneurship'.

It is also geared towards helping the EU and Member States achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which the Commission is integrating into the European Semester for the first time.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People said: "A profound transformation of our economic model is underway. Climate change, digitalisation and changing demographics require us to adapt our economic policy, so that Europe remains a competitive force on the world stage and does so in a way that's sustainable and fair. At the same time, we need EU countries to strengthen their defences against the global risks on the horizon. I invite countries with fiscal space to further boost investment and those with a high level of debt to bring it down."

"Starting today, we place the climate transition at the heart of our economic governance," said the new Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni: "One of my top priorities in the first year of my mandate will be to integrate the UN's Sustainable Development Goals into the European Semester. It is vital that we make a success of this important change to European economic policymaking."

The Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy encompasses four interrelated and mutually reinforcing dimensions to addresses long-term challenges. These dimensions should guide structural reforms, employment policies, investments and responsible fiscal policies across all Member States to deliver an economy that works for people and the planet. The four dimensions are: environmental sustainability; productivity gains; fairness; and macroeconomic stability.

The European Semester will place a stronger focus on environmental sustainability by providing specific guidance to Member States on where structural reforms and investment towards a sustainable economic model are most needed. The policy guidance under the European Semester will also help to spur productivity gains: it will promote investment and structural reforms to foster research and innovation, improve access to finance, enhance the functioning of product and services markets, and remove bottlenecks in the business environment.

Fairness should be safeguarded through the implementation of social policies to guarantee fair working conditions for all and to allow people to adapt to changing circumstances at a time of important transformations. Macroeconomic stability should be preserved by respecting the fiscal rules, while using the full flexibility built into them, addressing imbalances and completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

The European Council is now invited to endorse the sustainable growth strategy presented today.

The Commission says Member States should take account of the priorities identified by the Commission in its sustainable growth strategy in their national policies and strategies, as set out in their Stability or Convergence Programmes and their National Reform Programmes which they will submit next year. On that basis, the Commission is to propose Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) as part of the European Semester Spring Package. The CSRs will be adopted by the Member States in the Council. Member States are thus ultimately responsible for their content and implementation.

European Semester Autumn 2019 Package: background guide

Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2020


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