The economy in the EU and the euro area is proving resilient, but challenges, such as:
- slow productivity growth, the legacies of the crisis – including persisting inequalities –
- uncertainty arising mostly from external factors continue.
Member States should therefore use the window of opportunity offered by the economic recovery to:
- pursue structural reforms,
- boost investment
- strengthen their public finances.
Priorities vary across the EU but further efforts across the board are essential to achieve more inclusive, robust and sustainable growth.
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "This year addressing inequality is firmly at the heart of our assessment. We have turned the page of the crisis: the next chapter is social. With the economy moving forward, we need to restore opportunities for those left behind and keep pace with changing skills needs by investing in high quality education and training. Productivity increases should be reflected by higher wages. Only this way can we deliver on our joint commitment to improve living standards for all."
The Commission calls on the Council to endorse the proposed approach and adopt the country-specific recommendations, and on Member States to implement them fully and in a timely manner. EU ministers are expected to discuss the Country-Specific Recommendations before EU Heads of State and Government are due to endorse them. It is then up to Member States to implement the Recommendations by addressing them through their national economic and budgetary policies in 2017-2018.
While the recommendations to the Member States are adjusted every year, to reflect the progress made and the changing environment, they are firmly anchored in the wider priorities outlined in President Juncker's annual State of the Union address and the Annual Growth Survey. For the euro area Member States, they also reflect the recommendations for the euro area. The recommendations under the European Semester are coherent with the longer-term vision of the Europe 2020 strategy.