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EU Commission publishes Country Reports

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The European Commission published today in Brussels its Country Reports, an annual analysis of the economic and social challenges in the EU Member States.
The reports are a tool under the streamlined European Semester of economic policy coordination to monitor policy reforms and to point early on to challenges that Member States should address. Following the publication in November of the Annual Growth Survey 2016 and the euro area recommendation, which set out the priorities at European level, today’s reports shift the attention of the European Semester to the national dimension.

The reports will serve as the basis for discussion with Member States of their national policy choices ahead of their National Programmes in April, and will lead to the formulation in late spring of the Commission’s Country-Specific Recommendations.
Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said: “Against the background of growing external risks and increased volatility in financial markets, it is urgent to strengthen the fundamentals of our economies. The Commission’s analysis shows that reforms are being carried out on a number of policy areas, but the effort is uneven. A number of Member States still need to be more decisive in tackling persistent vulnerabilities, such as high public and private debt.”
Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, responsible for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “Although we have now reached the highest employment rate since the beginning of the crisis in 2008, still too many Europeans are unemployed. Through the European Semester, we remain committed to help Member States’ efforts to get people back into jobs.”
Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, responsible for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “The reports the Commission has presented today provide the most accurate and detailed picture of EU economies. These in-depth analyses will be the basis for the necessary dialogue between the EU institutions and national authorities this spring, in view of the next set of Country-Specific Recommendations. Boosting jobs and growth remains our first objective. As the EU recovery remains fragile, the Commission urges Member States to continue reforming their economies and fixing persistent macroeconomic imbalances.”
For 18 Member States identified in the Alert Mechanism Report 2016 published in November alongside the Annual Growth Survey, the Country Reports include the In-Depth Review under the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure.
Greece and Cyprus, which are currently under stability support programmes, are not covered by Country Reports at this stage.

Additional  Information:
The start of the 2016 European Semester: The November European Semester package explained
The EU’s economic governance explained
Alert Mechanism Report 2016
Winter 2016 Economic Forecast

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