Wednesday, 9 March 2011

EU EPSCO and Competitiveness Council: Annual Growth Survey is cornerstone

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In order to structure our thinking I have posted two entries today on the Europe 2020 (#EU2020) themes being prepared for the economic and social summit, the European Council 24 to 25 March 2011.

The first post was about the central theme of the EPSCO Council on employment and social affairs, in: EU Council (EPSCO): EU2020 and March European Council. The second one offered a reminder about the new economic governance tool: EU EPSCO Council: Recalling the European semester.

If you look at the Background note on Competitiveness Council 9 to 10 March 2011, prepared by the Council secretariat, you will notice how crucial the first concrete manifestation of the European semester is, during both days: the Annual Growth Survey (AGS).

Thus, an introduction to help you put these things into perspective.


Annual Growth Survey (AGS)

Describing the new economic governance, the European Commission said that January 2011 launched the first European Semester of ex-ante policy co-ordination starting with this Annual Growth Survey which is anchored in the Europe 2020 strategy.

The Commission communication on the first Annual Growth Survey (AGS) was presented 12 January 2011, and it is available in 22 official EU languages. Here is a link to the English language version:

Annual Growth Survey: advancing the EU's comprehensive response to the crisis; Brussels, 12.1.2010 COM(2011) 11 final (10 pages)


Ten proposed actions

A more detailed analysis underpinning the Commission's assessment was set out in three reports that accompanied the Communication and included an assessment of the initial setting up of the Europe 2020 (EU2020) strategy at member state level.

In the first Annual Growth Survey the Commission set out ten actions for the EU in 2011/2012, anchored in the EU2020 strategy. Since the communication is clear and fairly brief exposition of EU reform plans for the economy and employment, it is worth reading.

Key challenges

To refresh your memory, here are the main headlines and the ten proposed actions, based on the Commission's evaluation of the economic challenges the EU should address and with its main recommendations to the member states:

I. MACRO-ECONOMIC PRE-REQUISITES FOR GROWTH
1. Implementing a rigorous fiscal consolidation
2. Correcting macro economic imbalances
3. Ensuring stability of the financial sector

II. MOBILISING LABOUR MARKETS, CREATING JOB OPPORTUNITIES
4. Making work more attractive
5. Reforming pensions systems
6. Getting the unemployed back to work
7. Balancing security and flexibility

III. FRONTLOADING GROWTH –ENHANCING MEASURES
8. Tapping the potential of the Single Market
9. Attracting private capital to finance growth
10. Creating cost-effective access to energy


For an overview you can access the web page of DG Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN) titled 'Commission publishes Annual Growth Survey', with links to the communication mentioned above, as well as press releases and speeches, not to forget the annexed reports I missed at an earlier stage when I searched the Council website:

AGS Annex 1: Progress report on Europe 2020 (16 pages)

AGS Annex 2: Macroeconomic report (23 pages)

AGS Annex 3: Draft Joint Employment Report (13 pages)



Ralf Grahn



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