Documents considered by the Committee on 13 November 2017 Contents

41European Semester 2017

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny; debate recommendations in the previous Parliament not confirmed

Document details

(a) Commission Communication: Annual Growth Survey 2017; (b) Proposed Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the eurozone; (c) Commission Report: Alert Mechanism Report 2017; (d) Commission Communication about a fiscal stance for the eurozone; (e) Draft Joint Employment Report accompanying the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey 2017; (f) Commission Staff Working Document about the proposed Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the eurozone; (g) Commission Communication: 2017 Draft Budgetary Plans: Overall Assessment; (h) Commission Communication: 2017 European Semester: Assessment Country Reports and In-Depth Reviews; (i) Commission Staff Working Document: Country Report for the United Kingdom 2017 accompanying the Commission Communication

Legal base

(a) and (c)-(i) —; (b) Articles 121(2) and 136 TFEU, —, QMV

Department

HM Treasury

Document Numbers

(a) (38286), 14357/16, COM(16) 725; (b) (38287), 14358/16, COM(16) 726; (c) (38288), 14359/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 728; (d) (38289), 14630/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 727; (e) (38293), 14364/16, COM(16) 729; (f) (38320), 14808/16, SWD(16) 391; (g) (38282), EG 23/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 730; (h) (38557), 6619/17, COM(17) 90; (i) (38558), 6550/17, SWD(17) 93

41.1The European Semester is an annual cycle of economic policy coordination. It is an EU-level framework for coordinating and assessing Member States’ structural reforms and fiscal/budgetary policy and for monitoring and addressing macroeconomic imbalances. It attempts to align their reporting cycles for the various programmes, so tying together consideration of National Reform Programmes and Stability and Convergence Programmes.

41.2The processes of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure, introduced as part of the response to the economic and financial crisis, are a slightly separate part of the European Semester and it is designed to prevent and correct risky macroeconomic developments, such as high current account deficits, unsustainable external indebtedness and housing bubbles.

41.3In January 2017 the previous Committee recommended the Annual Growth Survey and the Alert Mechanism Report, the first documents for the 2017 European Semester, for debate in European Committee B, together with several other relevant documents. Our predecessors required the debate to take place before the March 2017 European Council, but that requirement was not met by the Government and it has still not scheduled a debate.

41.4As a further stage in the 2017 European Semester the Commission published in March 2017 Country Reports for all Member States, except Greece. These reports contained the conclusion of a Member State’s In Depth Review of macroeconomic imbalances, where applicable, and an assessment of progress in addressing the 2016 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs), agreed by the Council in July 2016, as the final stage of the 2016 European Semester. The Commission also published a Communication summarising the Country Reports and its assessment, where appropriate, of the level of imbalances in each Member State subject to an In Depth Review. The previous Committee recommended that this document, together with the Country Report for the UK, be debated in European Committee B once the proposed CSRs were available for scrutiny. Those proposed CSRs for all Member States except Greece were published in May 2017, together with a Commission Communication drawing in part on issues reflected in the CSRs. These documents are the subject of a further chapter in this Report.604

41.5The CSRs were adopted by the ECOFIN Council on 11 July 2017, thus concluding the European Semester’s 2017 cycle. It is highly regrettable that the Government ignored the previous Committee’s debate recommendations for earlier European Semester documents. However, it seems to us that a debate would now have little value. Accordingly, we do not confirm our predecessors’ debate recommendations and clear the documents from scrutiny.

Full details of the documents

(a) Commission Communication: Annual Growth Survey 2017: (38286), 14357/16, COM(16) 725; (b) Proposed Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area: (38287), 14358/16, COM(16) 726; (c) Commission Report: Alert Mechanism Report 2017 (prepared in accordance with Articles 3 and 4 of Regulations (EU) No. 1176/2011 on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances): (38288), 14359/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 728; (d) Commission Communication: Towards a positive fiscal stance for the euro area: (38289), 14630/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 727; (e) Draft Joint Employment Report accompanying the Communication from the Commission on the Annual Growth Survey 2017: (38293), 14364/16, COM(16) 729; (f) Commission Staff Working Document: Report on the Euro Area concerning the proposed Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area: (38320), 14808/16, SWD(16) 391; (g) Commission Communication: 2017 Draft Budgetary Plans: Overall Assessment: (38282), EG 23/16 + ADD 1, COM(16) 730; (h) Commission Communication: 2017 European Semester: Assessment of progress on structural reforms, prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances, and results of in-depth reviews under Regulation (EU) No 1176/2011 {SWD(2017) 67 final to SWD(2017) 93 final}: (38557), 6619/17, COM(17) 90; (i) Commission Staff Working Document: Country Report United Kingdom 2017 accompanying the Commission Communication: 2017 European Semester: Assessment of progress on structural reforms, prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances, and results of in-depth reviews under Regulation (EU) No 1176/2011 {COM(2017) 90 final}, {SWD(2017) 67 final to SWD(2017) 93 final}: (38558), 6550/17, SWD(17) 93.

Previous Committee Reports

Thirty-seventh Report HC 71–xxxv (2016–17), chapter 1 (29 March 2017) and Twenty-seventh Report HC 71–xxv (2016–17), chapter 1 and chapter 2 (18 January 2017).


604 See chapter 42 in this Report.




20 November 2017