The European Union published its annual country reports – the annual analysis of the economic and social challenges faced by the EU as a whole and by individual EU Member States. The country reports enable to coordinate and monitor policy reforms across the block and pinpoint problematic issues ahead of time. The reports are a tool under the streamlined European Semester, the EU’s annual cycle of economic policy guidance and surveillance. Following the publication of the Annual Growth Survey 2016 and the euro area recommendations, which proposed policy ideas on the European level, the latest country reports focus at the national level. The country profiles will serve as a basis for discussions with the Member States about their national policy choices.
Commission’s Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, who is in charge of the euro and social dialogue, commented that it was urgent for EU economies to strengthen their fundamentals amidst growing external risks and increased volatility in financial markets. “The Commission’s analysis shows that reforms are being carried out on a number of policy areas, but the effort is uneven,” he said while also noting that “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, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility, added that “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.” The Alert Mechanism Report 2016, published along with the Annual Growth Survey in November last year, included the In-Depth Review under the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure. Greece and Cyprus, which are currently under the stability support programs, are not covered by the country reports at this stage.