Documents considered by the Committee on 13 November 2017 Contents

42EU economic governance: the 2017 European Semester

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny

Document details

(a)-(z) Proposed 2017 Country-Specific Recommendations for all Member States except Greece and the UK

Legal base

Articles 121(2) and 148(4) TFEU, —, QMV

Department

HM Treasury

Document Numbers

(a) (38729), 9229/17, COM(17) 519; (b) (38730), 9230/17, COM(17) 501; (c) (38731), 9231/17, COM(17) 502; (d) (38732), 9232/17, COM(17) 510; (e) (38733), 9233/17, COM(17) 512; (f) (38734), 9234/17, COM(17) 503; (g) (38735), 9235/17, COM(17) 504; (h) (38736), 9236/17, COM(17) 506; (i) (38737), 9237/17, COM(17) 525; (j) (38738), 9238/17, COM(17) 509; (k) (38739), 9239/17, COM(17) 505; (l) (38740), 9241/17, COM(17) 516; (m) (38741), 9243/17, COM(17) 507; (n) (38742), 9245/17, COM(17) 511; (o) (38743), 9246/17, COM(17) 513; (p) (38744), 9247/17, COM(17) 514; (q) (38745), 9248/17, COM(17) 515; (r) (38746), 9249/17, COM(17) 517; (s) (38747), 9250/17, COM(17) 518; (t) (38748), 9251/17, COM(17) 520; (u) (38749), 9252/17, COM(17) 521; (v) (38750), 9254/17, COM(17) 522; (w) (38751), 9255/17, COM(17) 524; (x) (38752), 9256/17, COM(17) 523; (y) (38753), 9257/17, COM(17) 508; (z) (38754), 9259/17, COM(17) 526

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

42.1The Commission has published, in the context of the European Semester, the annual cycle of economic policy coordination, proposed 2017 Country-Specific Recommendations for all Member States except Greece. (We consider proposed 2017 Country-Specific Recommendations for the UK elsewhere in this Report.) These proposals were endorsed by the June 2017 European Council and adopted by the ECOFIN Council on 11 July 2017.

42.2The previous Committee considered a range of documents relevant to the 2017 European Semester and recommended some of them for debate in European Committee B. Several of these documents should have been debated before the March 2017 European Council. However the Government disregarded that requirement and that debate was not scheduled.

42.3The Government has told us that the Country-Specific Recommendations addressed to other Member States have no direct policy implications for the UK. However, while clearing them from scrutiny, we draw the documents to the attention of the House for the information they convey about economic policy recommendations for other Member States.

Full details of the documents

(a) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Austria and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Austria: (38729), 9229/17, COM(17) 519; (b) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Belgium and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Belgium: (38730), 9230/17, COM(17) 501; (c) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Bulgaria and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of Bulgaria: (38731), 9231/17, COM(17) 502; (d) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Croatia and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of Croatia: (38732), 9232/17, COM(17) 510; (e) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Cyprus and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Cyprus: (38733), 9233/17, COM(17) 512; (f) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of the Czech Republic and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of the Czech Republic: (38734), 9234/17, COM(17) 503; (g) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Denmark and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of Denmark: (38735), 9235/17, COM(17) 504; (h) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Estonia and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Estonia: (38736), 9236/17, COM(17) 506; (i) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Finland and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Finland: (38737), 9237/17, COM(17) 525; (j) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of France and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of France: (38738), 9238/17, COM(17) 509; (k) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Germany and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Germany: (38739), 9239/17, COM(17) 505; (l) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Hungary and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of Hungary: (38740), 9241/17, COM(17) 516; (m) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Ireland and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Ireland: (38741), 9243/17, COM(17) 507; (n) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Italy and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Italy: (38742), 9245/17, COM(17) 511; (o) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Latvia and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Latvia: (38743), 9246/17, COM(17) 513; (p) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Lithuania and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Lithuania: (38744), 9247/17, COM(17) 514; (q) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Luxembourg and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Luxembourg: (38745), 9248/17, COM(17) 515; (r) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Malta: (38746), 9249/17, COM(17) 517; (s) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of the Netherlands and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of the Netherlands: (38747), 9250/17, COM(17) 518; (t) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Poland and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of Poland: (38748), 9251/17, COM(17) 520; (u) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Portugal and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Portugal: (38749), 9252/17, COM(17) 521; (v) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Romania and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of Romania: (38750), 9254/17, COM(17) 522; (w) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Slovakia and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Slovakia: (38751), 9255/17, COM(17) 524; (x) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Slovenia and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Slovenia: (38752), 9256/17, COM(17) 523; (y) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Spain and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Programme of Spain: (38753), 9257/17, COM(17) 508; (z) Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2017 National Reform Programme of Sweden and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Convergence Programme of Sweden: (38754), 9259/17, COM(17) 526.

Background

42.4The European Semester, introduced in 2010, 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.

42.5In 2011 a Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure was introduced as part of the response to the economic and financial crisis. Its processes 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.

42.6In 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 did not schedule a debate.605

42.7As 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.606 Those proposed CSRs for all Member States except Greece were published in May 2017—26 of them are the subject of this chapter whilst the document concerning the proposed CSRs for the UK is the subject of another chapter in this Report.607

The documents

42.8The Commission’s proposed CSRs for all Member States except Greece and the UK were as follows.

42.9The Commission proposed that Austria:

42.10The Commission proposed that Belgium:

42.11The Commission proposed that Bulgaria:

42.12The Commission proposed that Croatia:

42.13The Commission proposed that Cyprus:

42.14The Commission proposed that the Czech Republic:

42.15The Commission proposed that Denmark foster competition in the domestically oriented services sector.

42.16The Commission proposed that Estonia:

42.17The Commission proposed that Finland:

42.18The Commission proposed that France:

42.19The Commission proposed that Germany:

42.20The Commission proposed that Hungary:

42.21The Commission proposed that Ireland:

42.22The Commission proposed that Italy:

42.23The Commission proposed that Latvia:

42.24The Commission proposed that Lithuania:

42.25The Commission proposed that Luxembourg:

42.26The Commission proposed that Malta:

42.27The Commission proposed that the Netherlands:

42.28The Commission proposed that Poland:

42.29The Commission proposed that Portugal:

42.30The Commission proposed that Romania:

42.31The Commission proposed that Slovakia:

42.32The Commission proposed that Slovenia:

42.33The Commission proposed that Spain:

42.34The Commission proposed that Sweden:

The Government’s view

42.35In her Explanatory Memorandum of 26 June 2017 the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Elizabeth Truss) said that these opinions and recommendations, addressed to other Member States, have no direct policy implications for the UK.

Previous Committee Reports

None.


605 (38282) —, (38286) 14357/16, (38287) 14358/16, (38288) 14359/16 + ADD 1, (38289) 14630/16 + ADD 1, (38293) 14364/16, (38320) 14808/16: see Twenty-seventh Report HC 71–xxv (2016–17) chapter 1 and chapter 2 (18 January 2017).

606 (38557) 6619/17, (38558) 6550/17: see Thirty-seventh Report HC 71–xxxv (2016–17), chapter 1 (29 March 2017).

607 (38755) 9260/17: see chapter 41 in this Report.




20 November 2017