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Policy Contribution

Is the European Semester effective and useful?

The authors study whether and to what extent EU countries implement recommendations on macroeconomic imbalances given by the EU in the so-called European Semester. Overall implementation of recommendations by EU countries has worsened in the last few years, in particular when it comes to recommendations addressed to countries with excessive macroeconomic imbalances.

By: and Date: June 13, 2018 Topic: Macroeconomic policy

The authors study whether and to what extent EU countries implement recommendations on macroeconomic imbalances given by the EU in the so-called European Semester. They assess how recommendations have evolved since 2013, based on a new database. Konstantinos Efstathiou and Guntram B. Wolff also study how EU recommendations on addressing macroeconomic imbalances compare to recommendations given by the International Monetary Fund.

Overall implementation of recommendations by EU countries has worsened in the last few years, in particular when it comes to recommendations addressed to countries with excessive macroeconomic imbalances. The policy content of the recommendations is broadly aligned with economic priorities emphasised by their corresponding legal bases, but a sizable share of recommendations, such as childcare, are also labelled as relevant for resolving macroeconomic imbalances. Moreover, for countries with macroeconomic imbalances, the IMF tends to emphasise financial imbalances more frequently than the EU. The authors also note that the EU makes significant political choices about which imbalances are judged to be excessive and which are judged not excessive.

Low implementation is likely a result of the fundamental dilemma facing the EU. National policies have major cross-border implications making coordination important, but countries take sovereign decisions mostly based on national considerations. They therefore argue that recommendations given in the context of macroeconomic imbalances should be focused on key issues of macroeconomic and cross-border relevance. Moreover, a significant gap was noted between analyses as described in the recitals of recommendations and the actual recommendations, and would urge greater consistency. Finally, the European Semester exercise is very difficult to digest and communication of key analyses and recommendations could be significantly improved to make them more accessible to national policymakers.

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Blog Post

European governance

Does the war in Ukraine call for a new Next Generation EU?

The European Union should take significant economic measures in response to the war in Ukraine, but a new Next Generation EU is not needed yet.

By: André Sapir Topic: European governance Date: May 17, 2022
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External Publication

What drives implementation of the European Union’s policy recommendations to its member countries?

Article published in the Journal of Economic Policy Reform.

By: Konstantinos Efstathiou and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 13, 2022
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Policy Contribution

Inclusive growth

Better pensions for the European Union’s self-employed

What is the current state of pensions policy in Europe and how are independent workers treated compared with their traditionally employed counterparts?

By: Rebecca Christie, Monika Grzegorczyk and Diane Mulcahy Topic: Inclusive growth Date: March 24, 2022
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Opinion

European governance

How to reconcile increased green public investment needs with fiscal consolidation

The EU’s ambitious emissions reduction targets will require a major increase in green investments. This column considers options for increasing public green investment when major consolidations are needed after the fiscal support provided during the pandemic. The authors make the case for a green golden rule allowing green investment to be funded by deficits that would not count in the fiscal rules. Concerns about ‘greenwashing’ could be addressed through a narrow definition of green investments and strong institutional scrutiny, while countries with debt sustainability concerns could initially rely only on NGEU for their green investment.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance, Green economy, Macroeconomic policy Date: March 8, 2022
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Podcast

Podcast

The European economy in 2022

What are the economic priorities for the new year?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European governance, Macroeconomic policy Date: January 5, 2022
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Blog Post

European governance

Policy coordination failures in the euro area: not just an outcome, but by design

Discussions on the fiscal framework should aim to correct its procyclical nature with a view to promoting more cooperative outcomes.

By: Maria Demertzis and Nicola Viegi Topic: European governance, Macroeconomic policy Date: December 20, 2021
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Parliamentary Testimony

Dutch Parliament

The future of the stability and growth pact

Testimony given to a Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal roundtable discussion on the future of the stability and growth pact.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Dutch Parliament Date: November 24, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

Microchips and Europe's strategic autonomy

Per microchips ad strategic autonomy.

Speakers: Piotr Arak, Alicia García-Herrero, Jay Lewis, Stefan Mengel and Niclas Poitiers Topic: Digital economy and innovation, European governance Date: November 2, 2021
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Opinion

European governance

Can EU fiscal rules jump on the green bandwagon?

By and large, setting a new green golden rule would be a useful addition to the existing EU fiscal framework.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance, Green economy, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 22, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

Unboxing the State of the Union 2021

In this Sound of Economics Live episode, Bruegel experts look at the State of the Union address delivered by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: September 15, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: Unboxing the State of the Union 2021

In this Sound of Economics Live episode, we look at the State of the Union address delivered by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

Speakers: Grégory Claeys, Maria Demertzis, Alicia García-Herrero and Giuseppe Porcaro Topic: Macroeconomic policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: September 15, 2021
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Policy Contribution

European governance

A green fiscal pact: climate investment in times of budget consolidation

Increasing green public investment while consolidating deficits will be a central challenge of this decade. A green fiscal pact would address this tension, but difficult trade-offs remain.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance, Macroeconomic policy Date: September 9, 2021
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