Sunday 9 April 2017

Testing two annual reports on Juncker Commission 2015

With regard to the Annual Growth Survey 2015 and the European Semester  and the Commission Work Programme 2015, what did the Juncker Commission achieve during its first year?

We use the internal market (single market) as a sample, when we test two potential sources of information.  

General report 2015

In order to find out, we can go to The EU in 2015 - General report on the activities of the European Union. The General report can be downloaded for free at the EU Bookshop in PDF or EPUB format. One of the best things about the General report is that it is published in the official EU languages.

The General report has been shrinking - losing text and exact references - while adding glossy features, such as pictures, graphic colour schemes and other brochure-like qualities, but it is still tolerably readable.    

Chapter 4 informs us about the Commission’s strategic aim: a deeper and fairer internal market with a strengthened industrial base (pages 36-42; with digital and network issues elsewhere).

The most important matters, such as the single market strategy and the capital markets union with its action plan, are mentioned briefly, with links to Commission press releases and informative web pages, but also multimedia trivia.

With the help of the links, the General report 2015 could still serve as an introduction to developments in the single market.

Swedish EU report   

In order to compare, we go to the annual report from the Swedish government to the parliament (Riksdag) about activities in the European Union:

Regeringens skrivelse 2015/16:115 Verksamheten i Europeiska unionen under 2015

Here we are interested mostly in part 7 about competitiveness (konkurrenskraftsfrågor) on pages 162-182 and part 8 about transport, telecommunications and energy on pages 183-195.

The style is sober, even austere, but it works well.

Not only does the report offer 336 pages of readable (black on white) and factual text,  without pictures or multimedia entertainment, but the government often refers to its running commentary: the memorandum (faktapromemoria) it wrote to the Riksdag about a new proposal or issue in the EU.

Here is an example.

Upgrading the Single Market

The first example of this kind of documentation comes on the initial page about the development of the internal market (p. 162), where the brief presentation of the new internal market strategy refers to a five page memorandum with a more detailed overview and the government’s preliminary view:

Regeringskansliet Faktapromemoria 2015/16:FPM17 Inremarknadsstrategin; Utrikesdepartementet 2015-12-02

The memorandum refers to the relevant EU document, here the communication (I choose the English version for your convenience):

Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business; Brussels, 28.10.2015 COM(2015) 550 final (22 pages)

The cover of the communication tells us that it was accompanied by two staff working documents, easy enough to find through Eur-Lex once identified, both in English only, with the latter divided into three parts like ancient Gallia:
A Single Market Strategy for Europe - Analysis and Evidence; Brussels, 28.10.2015 SWD(2015) 202 final (108 pages)

Report on Single Market Integration and Competitiveness in the EU and its Member States; Brussels, 28.10.2015 SWD(2015) 203 final PART 1/3
Report on Single Market Integration and Competitiveness in the EU and its Member States; Brussels, 28.10.2015 SWD(2015) 203 final PART 2/3  

Report on Single Market Integration and Competitiveness in the EU and its Member States; Brussels, 28.10.2015 SWD(2015) 203 final PART 3/3   

Alternatively, the single market integration report is downloadable in one piece (112 pages) through this Commission web page.
[We notice that we once again have a report on single market integration (and competitiveness), but not as a part or pillar of the Annual Growth Survey, which kicks off the European Semester.]  


I sometimes wonder who the presumed reader of the glossy General report is, but in practice it does serve the purpose of information search in 23 official EU languages (all except Gaelic).

Primarily, the Swedish annual EU report serves only some 20 million readers of the main Nordic languages, but I wanted to show an easily downloadable and directly readable alternative, reminiscent of the well documented and substantial EU General report a decade or so ago.  

How about the rest of the EU and EEA countries?

Do their governments or parliaments publish annual or thematic reports on developments in the European Union or the European Economic Area (EEA)?

Ralf Grahn

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