Blog Post

What to look out for in the latest European Semester package

Implementation of the European Commission’s country-specific policy recommendations (CSRs) is at a low rate overall. Whether this trend has continued, particularly among those countries judged to have excessive macroeconomic imbalances, will be evident in the soon-to-be-released reports of the Commission.

By: , and Date: February 26, 2019 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

This Wednesday, the European Commission is expected to adopt the winter package of the so-called European Semester, the cycle of surveillance and coordination of economic policies at the EU level. The package will include the categorisation of countries in the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP) for 2019 and, thus, mark a significant juncture in this year’s process.

Specifically, for a number of member states[1], an in-depth review (IDR) will determine the existence and nature of macroeconomic imbalances and evaluate their gravity. Based on that assessment, the member states will be classified accordingly into groups: countries with no imbalances, those with imbalances, and those with excessive imbalances.

This classification will, in turn, determine the stringency of monitoring that member states will be subject to in relation to their country-specific recommendations (CSRs), as well as the possible enforcement mechanisms available to European institutions in case of poor compliance.

But do countries actually follow the guidance they receive from Brussels on their economic policies? The answer is that so far overall implementation rates have been low[2]. Between 2013 and 2017, the implementation record of member states has ranged from what the European Commission considers “limited progress”[3] to “some progress”[4] (Figure 1).

In addition, implementation has deteriorated over time. This has been the case particularly among countries classified as having excessive imbalances (Figure 2). Whether this trend continued into 2018 remains to be seen on Wednesday, when the Commission’s assessment of progress with last year’s CSRs will be also released.

Notes

[1] Last November, the Alert Mechanism Report concluded that 15 member states were facing significant risk of imbalances. As a result no IDR is carried out for these member states, which are classified in the no imbalances category. Categorisation is pending only for the remaining 13 member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden).

[2] The European Commission uses five-point scale to assess implementation of recommendations: “no progress”, “limited progress”, “some progress”, “substantial progress” and “fully addressed”.

[3] “Limited progress” means that the member state: has announced certain measures but these only address the CSR to a limited extent; and/or presented legislative acts in the governing or legislator body but these have not been adopted yet and substantial non-legislative further work is needed before the CSR will be implemented; presented non-legislative acts, yet with no further follow-up in terms of implementation which is needed to address the CSR.

[4]  “Some progress” means that the member state: has adopted measures that partly address the CSR; and/or  the Member State has adopted measures that address the CSR, but a fair amount of work is still needed to fully address the CSR as only a few of the adopted measures have been implemented. For instance: adopted by national parliament; by ministerial decision; but no implementing decisions are in place.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

New life for an old framework: redesigning the European Union's expenditure and golden fiscal rules

Testimony before the European Parliament on the subject of EU fiscal policies.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Testimonies Date: November 17, 2020
Read article Download PDF
 

External Publication

European Parliament

New life for an old framework: redesigning the European Union's expenditure and golden fiscal rules

This briefing paper focuses on two aspects of the EU fiscal framework: whether an expenditure rule would be more reliable than a structural budget balance rule and the possible benefits and drawbacks of introducing a golden rule to exclude certain types of investment from the operational fiscal rule.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Julia Anderson Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Testimonies Date: October 14, 2020
Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

External Publication

European Parliament

What role for the European Semester in the recovery plan?

In this paper, the author looks at the implications arising from the focus of the Recovery and Resilience Plans in the context of the European Semester.

By: Thomas Wieser Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Testimonies Date: October 12, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

Common eurobonds should become Europe’s safe asset – but they don’t need to be green

The plan to fund the European Union’s recovery programme via debt issuance has raised hopes that a new type of euro-denominated safe asset could emerge. As a priority, the European Commission needs a strategy to create a liquid and transparent market in EU bonds. For now, funding through EU green bonds would complicate that effort.

By: Alexander Lehmann Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: September 28, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

A tale of two pandemics

The two narratives briefly examined here cast light on different aspects of the EU in the times of Covid-19. Euroskeptic nationalists typically propagate claims of EU failure but have been rather subdued during the pandemic as mainstream governments have taken over their trademark policy of closing borders to foreigners. Nonetheless, the grip on power of several pro-EU mainstream leaders, including President Emmanuel Macron in France, Prime Minister Conte in Italy and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Spain, remains tenuous.

By: Michael Leigh Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 23, 2020
Read article Download PDF
 

External Publication

European Parliament

A Just Transition Fund – How the EU budget can help with the transition

On 14 January 2020, the European Commission published its proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism, intended to provide support to territories facing serious socioeconomic challenges related to the transition towards climate neutrality. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of how the EU can best ensure a ‘just transition’ in all its territories and for all its citizens with the tools at its disposal. It provides an overview and a critical assessment of the Commission's proposal, and suggests possible amendments based on best practices from other just-transition initiatives.

By: Aliénor Cameron, Grégory Claeys, Catarina Midões and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament Date: May 26, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

A European response to the coronavirus crisis with Paolo Gentiloni

This is the second event in our series with the Financial Times, where Paolo Gentiloni will discuss the European response to the coronavirus crisis.

Speakers: Paolo Gentiloni, Mehreen Khan and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 6, 2020
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

External Publication

How has the macroeconomic imbalances procedure worked in practice to improve the resilience of the euro area?

This paper shows how the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP) could be streamlined and its underlying conceptual framework clarified. Implementation of the country-specific recommendations is low; their internal consistency is sometimes missing; despite past reforms, the MIP remains largely a countryby-country approach running the risk of aggravating the deflationary bias in the euro area. We recommend to streamline the scoreboard around a few meaningful indicators, involve national macro-prudential and productivity councils, better connect the various recommendations, simplify the language and further involve the Commission into national policy discussions. This document was prepared for the Economic Governance Support Unit at the request of the ECON Committee.

By: Agnès Bénassy-Quéré and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 24, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Be bold now: coronavirus, the Eurogroup and fiscal safety nets

This blog post sketches two scenarios: one in which countries provide a large fiscal safety net to companies and another in which they do not. Both lead to similar debt-to-GDP ratios in 2021, but the safety net leads to a smaller and shorter recession and a quicker rebound. We then discuss how to fund a large response without fragmenting the euro area. Until the lockdowns end, such measures should be implemented.

By: Guntram B. Wolff and Bruegel Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 17, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Three macroeconomic issues and Covid-19

COVID-19 raises a number of serious issues of a sanitary, social and economic nature. While recognizing the difficulty of giving definitive answers at this early stage, we attempt to shed light on three critical macroeconomic topics.

By: Leonardo Cadamuro, Francesco Papadia and Bruegel Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 10, 2020
Read article Download PDF
 

Policy Contribution

A European carbon border tax: much pain, little gain

The European Commission should not make the implementation of a carbon border adjustment mechanism into a must-have element of its climate policy. There is little in the way of strong empirical evidence that would justify a carbon-adjustment measure. Moreover, significant logistical, legal and political challenges will arise during the design. The EU should instead focus upon the implementation of measures to trigger the development of a competitive low-carbon industry in Europe.

By: Ben McWilliams and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 5, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Podcast

Podcast

The EU's plan to catch up on artificial intelligence

While the US and China have been setting the pace when it comes to Artificial Intelligence, the European Union seems to be lagging behind. What are the Commission's plans to finally catch up? Will AI increase the gap between big and small companies? This week, Nicholas Barrett is joined by Julia Anderson and Guntram Wolff to discuss the EU's plan for AI.

By: The Sound of Economics and Bruegel Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 14, 2020
Load more posts