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European Semester 2016: winter package

Today, as part of its Winter Package for the 2016 European Semester, the Commission adopted a Communication summarising the main findings and results of the 26 country reports and 18 in-depth reviews published on 26 February


What is the european semester ?

The European Semester is a cycle of economic and fiscal policy coordination within the EU. It is part of the European Union’s economic governance framework. Its focus is on the 6-month period from the beginning of each year, hence its name – the ‘semester’. During the European Semester the member states align their budgetary and economic policies with the objectives and rules agreed at the EU level. 

What policies  during the European Semester?
The European Semester covers 3 blocks of economic policy  coordination:
structural reforms, focusing on promoting growth and employment in line with the Europe 2020 strategy
fiscal policies, in order to ensure sustainability of public finances  in line with the Stability and Growth Pact 
prevention of excessive macroeconomic imbalances

What is new this year? 
The first half of the European Semester focused on the EU and euro area as a whole. The 2016 Annual Growth Survey adopted last November set out three priorities:
re-launching investment
-pursuing structural reforms to modernise EU economies
-and responsible fiscal policies.
 
What are the other consequences ?  
 
It also put greater emphasis on upward convergence and investment. Together with the Annual Growth Survey and the Alert Mechanism Report, the Commission in November also presented recommendations for the euro area. Previously, euro area recommendations were published in spring, and it highlights common challenges that need to guide country-specific action, in line with the Five Presidents’ Report.

It has also enabled thorough debates on economic and social policy priorities in the European Parliament and in the Council.
Today’s communication marks the start of the national phase of the European Semester process, and paves the way for a new set of country-specific recommendations in spring. Member States are expected to take into account the main policy implications from the analysis when they draft their national reform programmes and their stability programmes (for euro area countries) or convergence programmes (for non-euro area countries) to be presented in April.

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