The Council today adopted recommendations on the updated stability and convergence programmes. The programmes reflect the continuation of the general escape clause and address the budgetary stances of member states in qualitative terms.
The Council adopted 27 recommendations on the updated stability and convergence programmes as part of the European Semester 2021 cycle. The cycle was launched in September 2020, when the Commission published its Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy. The strategy establishes a link between the European Semester and the recovery and resilience plans and states that member states’ plans should aim to address the challenges included in the country-specific recommendations.
Member states submitted their stability and convergence programmes to the Commission, which assessed them taking into account the spring 2021 forecast and the general escape clause. The clause was activated in March 2020 due to the economic fallout from the COVID‑19 pandemic. It allows member states more budgetary flexibility to fight the crisis.
On 2 June 2021 the Commission adopted the recommendations for Council recommendations on the programmes. The Council introduced a small modification of one of the recommendations that applies to 26 member states. According to the rules, the Council must follow the Commission’s recommendation or explain its position publicly. The explanation is referred to as a ‘comply or explain’ note. The Council today adopted the ‘comply or explain’ note together with the 27 recommendations.
The European Semester coordinates the member states’ economic, fiscal, labour and social policies. It was the EU’s response to the financial crisis, which emphasised the need for better policy coordination and surveillance at the EU level. Each year in spring, the Commission assesses the member states' convergence and stability programmes and issues recommendations to be adopted by the Council.