Member States are making headway in implementing the individual policy guidance they received last year around the "virtuous triangle" of
- boosting investment,
- pursuing structural reforms
- ensuring responsible fiscal policies.
This assessment of Member States' progress is part of the annual cycle of economic policy coordination at EU level and is known as the Winter Package of the European Semester. The package follows the economic forecast released last week.
Today's 27 Country Reports (for all Member States except Greece, which is under a dedicated stability support programme) provide the annual analysis of Commission staff of the situation in the Member States' economies, including where relevant an assessment of macroeconomic imbalances.
Following the publication in November of the Annual Growth Survey 2017 and the euro area recommendations, which set the priorities for the year ahead at European level, today's package shifts the attention to the national dimension of the European Semester, in the run-up to the Country-Specific Recommendations in spring.
Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "Europe is making real progress. Employment continues to grow and we see that wages are starting to move up. With moderate growth returning we must now use the opportunity to combat more forcefully inequality of income and of opportunities."
The analysis presented in today's Country Reports shows that in most Member States, economic recovery has contributed to declining unemployment rates, although these are still above pre-crisis levels. The In-Depth Reviews contained in some of the reports show that large current account deficits have been corrected, and sizeable stocks of private, public and external debt have started falling as a share of Gross Domestic Product.
However, a number of risks remain: high current account surpluses are only being adjusted to a limited extent, while large stocks of non-performing loans weigh on the financial sector in some Member States.