The European Commission publishes its Annual Growth Survey, Alert Mechanism report, Draft Joint Employment Report and its opinions on countries' draft budgetary plans.
Workers in a warehouse in Italy © EU
The Annual Growth Survey sets out general economic and social priorities for the EU for 2015, as part of the European Commission's overall approach to support job creation and get Europe growing again. See press release here.
In the survey, the Commission recommends pursuing an economic and social policy based on three main pillars: (1) a boost to investment, (2) a renewed commitment to structural reforms, and (3) the pursuit of fiscal responsibility. A press release below presents these social and economic priorities in more detail.
The Alert Mechanism Report provides a screening of all 28 EU economies for potential economic risks, providing an early warning on imbalances such as housing booms or banking crises. It indicates which countries warrant an in-depth review of their economies. See the comprehensive factsheet for more information.
The Draft Joint Employment Report analyses employment and social trends, and challenges, as well as the policy responses deployed by Member States. It serves as a basis for further analysis, surveillance, and coordination throughout the European Semester. A factsheet is also available.
The Commission also publishes a review of various pieces of legislation that make up the "Six Pack" and the "Two Pack". While the legislation has significantly strengthened the EU’s economic governance framework, the review reveals areas for improvement on transparency and complexity of policy making, and their impact on growth, imbalances and convergence.
Finally, the Commission publishes its opinions on euro area countries' Draft Budgetary Plans for 2015, which give an early signal on whether the underlying national budgets are in line with the obligations under the Stability and Growth Pact. See press release and factsheet.
In some cases, the risk of non-compliance has implications for possible steps under the Excessive Deficit Procedure. In the cases of France, Italy and Belgium, the Commission will examine the situation in early March 2015. This will be done in light of the finalisation of the budget laws and the expected specification of the structural reform programme announced by the national authorities in their letters to the Commission on 21 November. These three Member States have committed at the highest level of government to adopt and implement growth-enhancing structural reforms by early 2015. These are expected to have an impact on the sustainability of public finances over the medium term. See letters here.