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Structural weakness holding back growth: EU economic reports

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Structural weakness holding back growth: EU economic reports

Pierre Moscovici - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission published Wednesday its annual analysis of the economic and social situation in the Member States, including progress in implementing country-specific recommendations.

The reports show a European economy which is expanding robustly, and an positive economic outlook matched by an improved labour market and social situation.

The Commission says this reflects reforms undertaken by EU Member States in recent years and 'provides a window of opportunity to further strengthen the resilience of the EU's economies and societies'.

However, it also says the recovery is not benefiting everybody in society equally and structural weaknesses are holding back growth and convergence in some Member States.

EU countries 'should use this momentum to further strengthen the foundations of their economies'.

The country reports show eleven EU countries still experiencing macroeconomic imbalances, which makes them vulnerable in case of shocks. But the number of countries under this procedure has been falling since the crisis, says Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, "we reward progress in Bulgaria, France, Portugal and Slovenia with a positive change of category."

However more efforts are needed in all countries, he added: "For millions of Europeans, life remains a daily struggle, which is why all governments must do more to tackle inequality, unemployment and job insecurity."

The 27 Country Reports (for all Member States except Greece, which is under a stability support programme) provide the annual analysis by Commission staff on the economic and social situation in Member States, including progress made in implementing Country-Specific Recommendations over the years. This analysis builds on intense dialogue at technical and political level with the Member States, as well as with stakeholders at all levels, as part of the European Semester of policy coordination.

For the 12 Member States selected last November for an in-depth review, the Country Reports include an assessment of possible macroeconomic imbalances and the package provides an update of the categorisation of countries under the so-called Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure.

For the first time, the Country Reports put a special emphasis on mainstreaming the priorities of the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed in November 2017. A specific focus is put this year on analysing skills challenges and how social safety nets operate at national level. Data from the Social Scoreboard are also used to keep track of employment and social performances.

This European Semester 2018 winter package follows the publication in November of the 2018 Annual Growth Survey and the recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area, which set the priorities for the year ahead at European level. It now shifts the focus to the national dimension of the Semester and provides the underpinning for Member States to develop their annual national programmes by mid-April. Together with the Country Reports, the national programmes will be the basis for the Commission's proposals for the next round of Country-Specific Recommendations in May.

European Semester Winter Package - background guide

Country Reports

Chapeau communication on the country reports

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