Paolo Soro

National progress on economic & social priorities reviewed

The Commission published today its annual analysis of the economic and social situation in Member States

Over the past twelve months, many EU countries have made further progress in addressing their key economic challenges, according to the European Commission's assessment today as part of an annual cycle of economic policy coordination at EU level.  Today's review follows the economic forecasts released last week. The 27 Country Reports provide the annual analysis by the Commission of Member States' economies (for all Member States except Greece, which is under a dedicated stability support programme).

The Commission's analysis shows that the strategy of boosting investment, pursuing structural reforms and sound budgetary policies is bearing fruit, addressing the legacies of the economic crisis and structural weaknesses in our economies. Employment continues to grow and wages are starting to increase. With moderate growth returning, it is important to combat more forcefully the risk of poverty and inequality of income and 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.

The Commission also reports today on the transposition into national law of the Fiscal Compact, which binds 22 Member States to the principles of strengthened fiscal discipline and a balanced budget rule with a correction mechanism as part of the EU's policy response to the economic and financial crisis. In addition, the Commission has adopted a report on Italy's debt situation, and proposed to the Council to fine Austria for the misrepresentation of data on government debt.

In addition, today First Vice-President Frans Timmermans informed the College of the reception of the reply of the Polish authorities to the Commission's Recommendations sent on 21 December 2016 on the Rule of Law in Poland. The European Commission will now carefully study the text and follow-up.

Finally, the College had a first discussion today on the preparation of the White Paper on the future of Europe which was announced by President Juncker in his 2016 State of the Union speech. The White Paper will be presented in time for the Rome Summit will help steer and structure the debate on the way ahead. It will then allow for a wider public debate on the future of Europe.

Source: EU Commission News

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