BETA


2012/2150(INI) European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead ECON GAUZÈS Jean-Paul (icon: PPE PPE) GOULARD Sylvie (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Committee Opinion BUDG TRAUTMANN Catherine (icon: S&D S&D)
Committee Opinion EMPL CORNELISSEN Marije (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE) Georges BACH (icon: PPE PPE), Pervenche BERÈS (icon: S&D S&D)
Committee Opinion ENVI
Committee Opinion IMCO HARBOUR Malcolm (icon: ECR ECR) Dennis de JONG (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), Matteo SALVINI (icon: ENF ENF)
Committee Opinion REGI
Committee Opinion AFCO RANGEL Paulo (icon: PPE PPE) Ashley FOX (icon: ECR ECR), Enrique GUERRERO SALOM (icon: S&D S&D), Morten MESSERSCHMIDT (icon: ECR ECR)
Committee Opinion FEMM MATERA Barbara (icon: PPE PPE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 54

Events

2013/03/04
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2012/10/26
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2012/10/26
   EP - Decision by Parliament
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 430 votes 90 with 8 abstentions a resolution on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities.

It notes that the crisis and the increasing disparities in competitiveness since the introduction of the euro have highlighted the need for enhanced coordination of economic and employment policies and improved budgetary practices . The European Semester framework was finally codified in Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 and has an essential role to play, leading the Union in taking further steps towards the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Parliament also notes that this is the first time that the European Semester has been fully implemented and the necessary lessons must be drawn in order for it to reach its full potential.

Members welcome the Council's country-specific recommendations for the euro area, recalling that this is the first time that those recommendations have had a macroeconomic scenario of the euro area as a whole, but have not yet reached their full potential . They are concerned to note that, in many Member States, national parliaments, social partners and civil society were not involved in the European Semester process . Parliament urges the Commission to ensure that more democratic legitimacy be given to the process through the involvement of national parliaments, social partners and civil society. Lauding the economic dialogue held so far between European Parliament and national representatives, Parliament emphasises the importance of this dialogue with a view to achieving a fully operational European Semester framework and attaining the necessary level of democratic accountability with regard to all those involved.

Members take stock of the various European Semester economic policy coordination proposals agreed at EU level and then translated into action at in each Member State. They note several areas in which the Commission and Member States could improve coordination.

They welcome the measures that have been proposed but stress the need for proper coherence within and among the different Member States’ recommendations , for better use of the macroeconomic scoreboard and for account to be taken of the negative spill-over effects of individual members’ economic policies . They also welcome the emphasis on resource efficiency programmes, which have significant employment potential while also benefiting the environment, providing sustainable jobs and offering a clear return on investment for both public and private finances.

Parliament notes that most of the structural reforms are concentrating on a small number of areas , but expresses its concern about the fact that no recommendations have been made on the Europe 2020 objectives to those Member States with a financial assistance programme. It calls on the Commission to assess the impact of the economic adjustment programme on progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets and to propose modifications designed to bring the adjustment programme into line with the Europe 2020 objectives.

Parliament urges the Commission:

· to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the recommendations given to Member States and to ensure that such recommendations are made according to the specific needs of the Member State concerned;

· to be more explicit thorough and coherent in its recommendations , to continue to monitor recommendations made in the past, including detailed explanation and evaluation in those cases where the Commission thinks a country has only partially followed the recommendations and to take full account of the different economic and social realities of each Member State;

· to make recommendations to Member States on how to minimise the negative spill-over effects of their internal policies and facilitate compliance of other Member States.

Parliament encourages Member States to follow strictly the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact , as modified by the ‘six-pack’, by pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation taking into account country-specific circumstances, and to render public finances more resilient and reduce pressure from the banking sector.

Members turn to democratic scrutiny, and regret that parliamentary scrutiny plays only a minor role in the process, and stress that the European Semester must in no way jeopardise the prerogatives of the European Parliament and the national parliaments. They note with concern that the European Parliament has been constantly marginalised in the main economic decisions resulting from the crisis. They recall that the European Parliament must be recognised as the appropriate European democratic forum for providing an overall evaluation at the end of the European Semester. As a sign of this recognition, representatives of the EU institutions and the economic bodies involved in the process should provide information to Members of the European Parliament when asked to do so.

The Commission is called upon to report on the progress made regarding the call issued by Parliament in its resolution of 1 December 2011 for the Commission to ask civil society and social partners to contribute an annual shadow report on the progress of the Member States regarding the headline targets and the implementation of measures proposed in the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).

Sectoral contributions to the European Semester 2012

Employment and Social Policies : Parliament deplores the fact that, despite their political commitment during the 2012 Spring European Council and the Commission’s guidance in the Employment Package, most Member States did not submit a National Job Plan (NJP) as part of their 2012 NRPs. It urges the Commission to call on Member States to deliver their NJPs as soon as possible, and make some recommendations on the content of NJPs, including comprehensive measures for job creation and green employment. The Commission is asked to follow up its plan for a labour market monitoring system based on objective data and for an individual tracking scheme for countries that do not comply with country-specific recommendations.

Budgetary Policies : Parliament urges the Commission, in its next Annual Growth Survey to underline the role of the EU budget in the European Semester process by providing concrete data on its triggering, catalytic, synergetic and complementary effects on overall public expenditure at local, regional and national levels. It believes, moreover, that funding at EU level can generate savings for the Member States’ budgets and that this should be emphasised.

The resolution urges the Council, during negotiations on the 2013 EU budget, to accept a political and public debate on the level of appropriations needed to implement the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ adopted at the June 2012 European Council. It expresses strong concern at the position repeatedly taken by the Council to reduce artificially the level of payment appropriations available in the EU budget , which would jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet its legal and political commitments. Parliament calls on the Council to agree with Parliament and the Commission on a common method to assess real payment needs.

The Member States are invited to fully seize the possibilities agreed in the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ to consider reallocations within their national structural and cohesion fund envelopes (EUR 55 billion) in support of research and innovation, SMEs (including facilitating their access to EU funds) and youth employment.

Parliament is of the opinion that Member States should seek to maximise the growth potential offered by other already agreed EU initiatives financed by the EU budget, such as the pilot phase for project bonds, the various existing EU innovative financial instruments in place since 2007 in the field of research innovation, support to SMEs or microcredit schemes. If properly combined and implemented, all these measures could form the foundations of an EU investment programme for the years to come with a dramatically positive effect on GDP and employment in the EU-27, with some academics estimating a GDP increase of 0.56 % and 1. 2 million additional jobs.

Internal market: Members urge the Commission to make single market governance a key priority , since it contributes substantially to reaching the targets of the European Semester. They take the view that the Commission’s country-specific recommendations should offer the Member States more practical solutions for improving the functioning of the single market, and the Council and the Commission are asked to link the European Semester to the Single Market Act in order to secure the coherence of European economic policy and the creation of sustainable growth. Members also want the Commission to step up its actions in ensuring the proper implementation and enforcement of EU legislation in the Member States by making determined use of all its powers;

Gender Equality : lastly, Members reiterate their call to integrate a gender equality perspective into the European Semester process, calling on the Commission to propose to a uniform format and criteria for integrating a gender equality perspective into the NRPs.

Documents
2012/10/26
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2012/10/25
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2012/10/12
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary
Details

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Jean-Paul GAUZES (EPP, FR) on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities.

The committee notes that the European Semester framework was finally codified in Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 and has an essential role to play, leading the Union in taking further steps towards the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It also notes that this is the first time that the European Semester has been fully implemented and the necessary lessons must be drawn in order for it to reach its full potential.

Members are concerned to note that, in many Member States, national parliaments, social partners and civil society were not involved in the European Semester process . It urges the Commission to ensure that more democratic legitimacy be given to the process through the involvement of national parliaments, social partners and civil society.

Lauding the economic dialogue held so far between European Parliament and national representatives, the report emphasises the importance of this dialogue with a view to achieving a fully operational European Semester framework and attaining the necessary level of democratic accountability with regard to all those involved.

Members take stock of the various European Semester economic policy coordination proposals agreed at EU level and then translated into action at in each Member State. They note several areas in which the Commission and Member States could improve coordination.

They welcome the measures that have been proposed but stress the need for proper coherence within and among the different Member States’ recommendations , for better use of the macroeconomic scoreboard and for account to be taken of the negative spill-over effects of individual members’ economic policies . The report notes that most of the structural reforms are concentrating on a small number of areas, such as labour markets, the taxation system, the banking sector, the pension system, the services sector, liberalising certain industries, improving the efficiency and quality of public expenditure, cutting red tape, removing unnecessary layers of government, combating tax evasion, and reforming mortgage and real estate markets. However, the committee expresses its concern about the fact that no recommendations have been made on the Europe 2020 objectives to those Member States with a financial assistance programme . It calls on the Commission to assess the impact of the economic adjustment programme on progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets and to propose modifications designed to bring the adjustment programme into line with the Europe 2020 objectives.

The report urges the Commission:

to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the recommendations given to Member States and to ensure that such recommendations are made according to the specific needs of the Member State concerned; to be more explicit in its recommendations, to continue to monitor recommendations made in the past, including detailed explanation and evaluation in those cases where the Commission thinks a country has only partially followed the recommendations and to take full account of the different economic and social realities of each Member State; to make recommendations to Member States on how to minimise the negative spill-over effects of their internal policies and facilitate compliance of other Member States.

The committee encourages Member States to follow strictly the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact, as modified by the ‘six-pack’, by pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation taking into account country-specific circumstances, and to render public finances more resilient and reduce pressure from the banking sector.

Members turn to democratic scrutiny, and note with concern that the European Parliament has been constantly marginalised in the main economic decisions resulting from the crisis . They consider that it must be involved in order to increase the legitimacy of decisions that affect all citizens. They recall that the European Parliament must be recognised as the appropriate European democratic forum for providing an overall evaluation at the end of the European Semester. As a sign of this recognition, representatives of the EU institutions and the economic bodies involved in the process should provide information to Members of the European Parliament when asked to do so.

Sectoral contributions to the European Semester 2012

Employment and Social Policies: the committee deplores the fact that, despite their political commitment during the 2012 Spring European Council and the Commission’s guidance in the Employment Package, most Member States did not submit a National Job Plan (NJP) as part of their 2012 NRPs. They urge the Commission to call on Member States to deliver their NJPs as soon as possible, and make some recommendations on the content of NJPs, including comprehensive measures for job creation and green employment. The Commission is asked to follow up its plan for a labour market monitoring system based on objective data and for an individual tracking scheme for countries that do not comply with country-specific recommendations.

Budgetary Policies: the report urges the Commission, in its next Annual Growth Survey to underline the role of the EU budget in the European Semester proces s by providing concrete data on its triggering, catalytic, synergetic and complementary effects on overall public expenditure at local, regional and national levels. It believes, moreover, that funding at EU level can generate savings for the Member States’ budgets and that this should be emphasised.

Members go on to urge the Council, during negotiations on the 2013 EU budget, to accept a political and public debate on the level of appropriations needed to implement the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ adopted at the June 2012 European Council. They express strong concern at the position repeatedly taken by the Council to reduce artificially the level of payment appropriations available in the EU budget, which would jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet its legal and political commitments. The report calls on the Council to agree with Parliament and the Commission on a common method to assess real payment needs .

Member States are asked to seize the possibilities agreed in the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ to consider reallocations within their national structural and cohesion fund envelopes (EUR 55 billion) in support of research and innovation, SMEs (including facilitating their access to EU funds) and youth employment; calls on the Commission to provide, in its AGS 2013 to be published in November 2012, a full and complete picture of what has been achieved in that respect.

Internal market: Members urge the Commission to make single market governance a key priority, since it contributes substantially to reaching the targets of the European Semester. They take the view that the Commission’s country-specific recommendations should offer the Member States more practical solutions for improving the functioning of the single market, so that stronger public support and political commitment are created to encourage the completion of the single market. The Council and the Commission are asked to link the European Semester to the Single Market Act in order to secure the coherence of European economic policy and the creation of sustainable growth. Members also want the Commission to step up its actions in ensuring the proper implementation and enforcement of EU legislation in the Member States by making determined use of all its powers;

Gender Equality: lastly, Members reiterate their call to integrate a gender equality perspective into the European Semester process, calling on the Commission to propose to a uniform format and criteria for integrating a gender equality perspective into the NRPs.

Documents
2012/10/09
   CSL - Debate in Council
Documents
2012/10/09
   EP - Vote in committee
2012/10/09
   CSL - Council Meeting
2012/10/04
   CSL - Debate in Council
Documents
2012/10/04
   CSL - Council Meeting
2012/09/24
   CSL - Debate in Council
Details

The Council took stock of lessons learned from the 2012 European Semester monitoring exercise and possible improvements for 2013. The European Semester involves simultaneous monitoring of the Member States' economic, fiscal, employment and social policies, in accordance with common rules, over a six-month period every year. It was first organised in 2011.

Although the outcome of this year's exercise was considered satisfactory overall, implementation is now being reviewed. The process has been made more challenging by strengthened rules on economic governance.

The main themes discussed were the following:

Focus on results : d uring this first phase, the Council could focus on an implementation review which would require preparation both by the Commission, in cooperation with individual Member States, and the Council preparatory bodies. In this regard, the Council could welcome the proposal of the Commission to organise a series of bilateral meetings in October, to take stock of planned actions to implement the 2012 recommendations.

Holistic approach :

· The General Affairs Council ( GAC ) has maintained an overview, notably through the semester roadmap, the synthesis report on Council discussions on the Annual Growth Survey, and approval of Country-specific Recommendations ( CSR ) in their entirety before EC endorsement. In 2013, while maintaining the broad involvement of Council formations, the role of Coreper could be better exploited.

· For 2013, the distribution of tasks between the different Council configurations could be better articulated through stronger involvement of the Presidency, on the basis of discussion at Coreper and the GAC . Given the integrated nature of the semester and the number of cross-cutting issues, the division of labour between the Economic and Financial Affairs Council ( ECOFIN) and the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council ( EPSCO) is an issue.

· The Competitiveness Council plays a key role in a number of policy areas, notably the Single Market . Its importance for the European semester is highlighted by the Commission decision to issue, from 2013, annual reports on the integration of the Single Market as an annex to the AGS. A stronger highlight could be given to the issues dealt with the COMPET Council which are directly relevant to the European semester.

Dialogue :

· Deeper dialogue from a very early stage , including through higher level and political contacts, could provide better information on CSR implementation. The Council could welcome the Commission proposal to organise three series of bilateral meetings at key moments in the preparatory cycle, in October, December/January, and April.

· In the next cycle, starting with autumn 2012, thematic discussions on overarching issues at committee and Council level , could help prepare for CSR handling. In this regard, the Council could welcome the willingness of the Commission to further pursue multilateral surveillance of CSRs throughout the year.

· Given the time constraints on CSR, Member States could explore how to better involve national parliaments and, where relevant, social partner organisations, in the first phase of the semester.

CSR Handling :

· Properly addressing the time constraints would require an overhaul of Commission and Member States' calendars for statistics, budget preparation etc, including changes in the six-pack. However, this could only be considered for the future.

· In the same context it could be assessed whether the CSR exercise should be organised in a longer cycle , for example every two years.

· Under current constraints, Member States could improve the situation by submitting their National Reform Programmes and Stability or Convergence Programmes by mid-April , facilitated by the Commission commitment to provide earlier guidance on National Reform Programme structure and content. Subsequently, the Commission could consider a somewhat earlier presentation of the CSR.

· The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure ( MIP) was not fully synchronised with the rest of the semester.

· The Council could welcome the Commission's intentions to adopt the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR) together with the Annual Growth Survey ( AGS) and the in-depth reviews by end-March.

The Councils ECOFIN and EPSCO will continue work on the question during their meetings on 4 and 9 October respectively.

Documents
2012/09/24
   CSL - Council Meeting
2012/09/21
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2012/09/20
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2012/09/19
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2012/09/19
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2012/09/18
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2012/09/13
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2012/09/13
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament
2012/09/13
   EP - Referral to associated committees announced in Parliament
2012/09/05
   EP - RANGEL Paulo (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in AFCO
2012/07/18
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2012/07/17
   EP - TRAUTMANN Catherine (S&D) appointed as rapporteur in BUDG
2012/07/10
   EP - HARBOUR Malcolm (ECR) appointed as rapporteur in IMCO
2012/06/14
   EP - CORNELISSEN Marije (Verts/ALE) appointed as rapporteur in EMPL
2012/05/30
   EP - GAUZÈS Jean-Paul (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in ECON
2012/05/30
   EP - MATERA Barbara (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in FEMM

Documents

Activities

AmendmentsDossier
155 2012/2150(INI)
2012/09/07 FEMM 32 amendments...
source: PE-494.805
2012/09/13 BUDG 123 amendments...
source: PE-496.291

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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  • body: CSL meeting_id: 3188 docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3188*&MEET_DATE=04/10/2012 type: Debate in Council title: 3188 council: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs date: 2012-10-04T00:00:00 type: Council Meeting
  • body: CSL meeting_id: 3189 docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3189*&MEET_DATE=09/10/2012 type: Debate in Council title: 3189 council: Economic and Financial Affairs ECOFIN date: 2012-10-09T00:00:00 type: Council Meeting
  • date: 2012-10-09T00:00:00 body: EP type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: AFCO date: 2012-09-05T00:00:00 committee_full: Constitutional Affairs rapporteur: group: PPE name: RANGEL Paulo body: EP responsible: False committee: BUDG date: 2012-07-17T00:00:00 committee_full: Budgets (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: S&D name: TRAUTMANN Catherine body: EP shadows: group: ALDE name: GOULARD Sylvie responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: PPE name: GAUZÈS Jean-Paul body: EP responsible: False committee: EMPL date: 2012-06-14T00:00:00 committee_full: Employment and Social Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: CORNELISSEN Marije body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee: ENVI body: EP responsible: False committee: FEMM date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Women's Rights and Gender Equality rapporteur: group: PPE name: MATERA Barbara body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2012-07-10T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: ECR name: HARBOUR Malcolm body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Regional Development committee: REGI
  • date: 2012-10-12T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A7-2012-312&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A7-0312/2012 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2012-10-25T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20121025&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2012-10-26T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=22058&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2012-408 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T7-0408/2012 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
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  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Economic and Financial Affairs ECOFIN meeting_id: 3189 url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3189*&MEET_DATE=09/10/2012 date: 2012-10-09T00:00:00
  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs meeting_id: 3188 url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3188*&MEET_DATE=04/10/2012 date: 2012-10-04T00:00:00
  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: General Affairs meeting_id: 3187 url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3187*&MEET_DATE=24/09/2012 date: 2012-09-24T00:00:00
docs
  • date: 2012-07-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE492.923 title: PE492.923 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-13T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE496.316 title: PE496.316 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE496.396&secondRef=01 title: PE496.396 committee: IMCO type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-19T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE494.649 title: PE494.649 committee: AFCO type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-19T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE494.682&secondRef=02 title: PE494.682 committee: BUDG type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-20T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE494.647&secondRef=02 title: PE494.647 committee: EMPL type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-21T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE494.472&secondRef=02 title: PE494.472 committee: FEMM type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2013-03-04T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=22058&j=0&l=en title: SP(2012)868/2 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
events
  • date: 2012-09-13T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-13T00:00:00 type: Referral to associated committees announced in Parliament body: EP
  • date: 2012-09-24T00:00:00 type: Debate in Council body: CSL docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3187*&MEET_DATE=24/09/2012 title: 3187 summary: The Council took stock of lessons learned from the 2012 European Semester monitoring exercise and possible improvements for 2013. The European Semester involves simultaneous monitoring of the Member States' economic, fiscal, employment and social policies, in accordance with common rules, over a six-month period every year. It was first organised in 2011. Although the outcome of this year's exercise was considered satisfactory overall, implementation is now being reviewed. The process has been made more challenging by strengthened rules on economic governance. The main themes discussed were the following: Focus on results : d uring this first phase, the Council could focus on an implementation review which would require preparation both by the Commission, in cooperation with individual Member States, and the Council preparatory bodies. In this regard, the Council could welcome the proposal of the Commission to organise a series of bilateral meetings in October, to take stock of planned actions to implement the 2012 recommendations. Holistic approach : · The General Affairs Council ( GAC ) has maintained an overview, notably through the semester roadmap, the synthesis report on Council discussions on the Annual Growth Survey, and approval of Country-specific Recommendations ( CSR ) in their entirety before EC endorsement. In 2013, while maintaining the broad involvement of Council formations, the role of Coreper could be better exploited. · For 2013, the distribution of tasks between the different Council configurations could be better articulated through stronger involvement of the Presidency, on the basis of discussion at Coreper and the GAC . Given the integrated nature of the semester and the number of cross-cutting issues, the division of labour between the Economic and Financial Affairs Council ( ECOFIN) and the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council ( EPSCO) is an issue. · The Competitiveness Council plays a key role in a number of policy areas, notably the Single Market . Its importance for the European semester is highlighted by the Commission decision to issue, from 2013, annual reports on the integration of the Single Market as an annex to the AGS. A stronger highlight could be given to the issues dealt with the COMPET Council which are directly relevant to the European semester. Dialogue : · Deeper dialogue from a very early stage , including through higher level and political contacts, could provide better information on CSR implementation. The Council could welcome the Commission proposal to organise three series of bilateral meetings at key moments in the preparatory cycle, in October, December/January, and April. · In the next cycle, starting with autumn 2012, thematic discussions on overarching issues at committee and Council level , could help prepare for CSR handling. In this regard, the Council could welcome the willingness of the Commission to further pursue multilateral surveillance of CSRs throughout the year. · Given the time constraints on CSR, Member States could explore how to better involve national parliaments and, where relevant, social partner organisations, in the first phase of the semester. CSR Handling : · Properly addressing the time constraints would require an overhaul of Commission and Member States' calendars for statistics, budget preparation etc, including changes in the six-pack. However, this could only be considered for the future. · In the same context it could be assessed whether the CSR exercise should be organised in a longer cycle , for example every two years. · Under current constraints, Member States could improve the situation by submitting their National Reform Programmes and Stability or Convergence Programmes by mid-April , facilitated by the Commission commitment to provide earlier guidance on National Reform Programme structure and content. Subsequently, the Commission could consider a somewhat earlier presentation of the CSR. · The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure ( MIP) was not fully synchronised with the rest of the semester. · The Council could welcome the Commission's intentions to adopt the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR) together with the Annual Growth Survey ( AGS) and the in-depth reviews by end-March. The Councils ECOFIN and EPSCO will continue work on the question during their meetings on 4 and 9 October respectively.
  • date: 2012-10-04T00:00:00 type: Debate in Council body: CSL docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3188*&MEET_DATE=04/10/2012 title: 3188
  • date: 2012-10-09T00:00:00 type: Debate in Council body: CSL docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3189*&MEET_DATE=09/10/2012 title: 3189
  • date: 2012-10-09T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2012-10-12T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A7-2012-312&language=EN title: A7-0312/2012 summary: The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Jean-Paul GAUZES (EPP, FR) on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities. The committee notes that the European Semester framework was finally codified in Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 and has an essential role to play, leading the Union in taking further steps towards the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It also notes that this is the first time that the European Semester has been fully implemented and the necessary lessons must be drawn in order for it to reach its full potential. Members are concerned to note that, in many Member States, national parliaments, social partners and civil society were not involved in the European Semester process . It urges the Commission to ensure that more democratic legitimacy be given to the process through the involvement of national parliaments, social partners and civil society. Lauding the economic dialogue held so far between European Parliament and national representatives, the report emphasises the importance of this dialogue with a view to achieving a fully operational European Semester framework and attaining the necessary level of democratic accountability with regard to all those involved. Members take stock of the various European Semester economic policy coordination proposals agreed at EU level and then translated into action at in each Member State. They note several areas in which the Commission and Member States could improve coordination. They welcome the measures that have been proposed but stress the need for proper coherence within and among the different Member States’ recommendations , for better use of the macroeconomic scoreboard and for account to be taken of the negative spill-over effects of individual members’ economic policies . The report notes that most of the structural reforms are concentrating on a small number of areas, such as labour markets, the taxation system, the banking sector, the pension system, the services sector, liberalising certain industries, improving the efficiency and quality of public expenditure, cutting red tape, removing unnecessary layers of government, combating tax evasion, and reforming mortgage and real estate markets. However, the committee expresses its concern about the fact that no recommendations have been made on the Europe 2020 objectives to those Member States with a financial assistance programme . It calls on the Commission to assess the impact of the economic adjustment programme on progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets and to propose modifications designed to bring the adjustment programme into line with the Europe 2020 objectives. The report urges the Commission: to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the recommendations given to Member States and to ensure that such recommendations are made according to the specific needs of the Member State concerned; to be more explicit in its recommendations, to continue to monitor recommendations made in the past, including detailed explanation and evaluation in those cases where the Commission thinks a country has only partially followed the recommendations and to take full account of the different economic and social realities of each Member State; to make recommendations to Member States on how to minimise the negative spill-over effects of their internal policies and facilitate compliance of other Member States. The committee encourages Member States to follow strictly the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact, as modified by the ‘six-pack’, by pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation taking into account country-specific circumstances, and to render public finances more resilient and reduce pressure from the banking sector. Members turn to democratic scrutiny, and note with concern that the European Parliament has been constantly marginalised in the main economic decisions resulting from the crisis . They consider that it must be involved in order to increase the legitimacy of decisions that affect all citizens. They recall that the European Parliament must be recognised as the appropriate European democratic forum for providing an overall evaluation at the end of the European Semester. As a sign of this recognition, representatives of the EU institutions and the economic bodies involved in the process should provide information to Members of the European Parliament when asked to do so. Sectoral contributions to the European Semester 2012 Employment and Social Policies: the committee deplores the fact that, despite their political commitment during the 2012 Spring European Council and the Commission’s guidance in the Employment Package, most Member States did not submit a National Job Plan (NJP) as part of their 2012 NRPs. They urge the Commission to call on Member States to deliver their NJPs as soon as possible, and make some recommendations on the content of NJPs, including comprehensive measures for job creation and green employment. The Commission is asked to follow up its plan for a labour market monitoring system based on objective data and for an individual tracking scheme for countries that do not comply with country-specific recommendations. Budgetary Policies: the report urges the Commission, in its next Annual Growth Survey to underline the role of the EU budget in the European Semester proces s by providing concrete data on its triggering, catalytic, synergetic and complementary effects on overall public expenditure at local, regional and national levels. It believes, moreover, that funding at EU level can generate savings for the Member States’ budgets and that this should be emphasised. Members go on to urge the Council, during negotiations on the 2013 EU budget, to accept a political and public debate on the level of appropriations needed to implement the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ adopted at the June 2012 European Council. They express strong concern at the position repeatedly taken by the Council to reduce artificially the level of payment appropriations available in the EU budget, which would jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet its legal and political commitments. The report calls on the Council to agree with Parliament and the Commission on a common method to assess real payment needs . Member States are asked to seize the possibilities agreed in the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ to consider reallocations within their national structural and cohesion fund envelopes (EUR 55 billion) in support of research and innovation, SMEs (including facilitating their access to EU funds) and youth employment; calls on the Commission to provide, in its AGS 2013 to be published in November 2012, a full and complete picture of what has been achieved in that respect. Internal market: Members urge the Commission to make single market governance a key priority, since it contributes substantially to reaching the targets of the European Semester. They take the view that the Commission’s country-specific recommendations should offer the Member States more practical solutions for improving the functioning of the single market, so that stronger public support and political commitment are created to encourage the completion of the single market. The Council and the Commission are asked to link the European Semester to the Single Market Act in order to secure the coherence of European economic policy and the creation of sustainable growth. Members also want the Commission to step up its actions in ensuring the proper implementation and enforcement of EU legislation in the Member States by making determined use of all its powers; Gender Equality: lastly, Members reiterate their call to integrate a gender equality perspective into the European Semester process, calling on the Commission to propose to a uniform format and criteria for integrating a gender equality perspective into the NRPs.
  • date: 2012-10-25T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20121025&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2012-10-26T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=22058&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2012-10-26T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2012-408 title: T7-0408/2012 summary: The European Parliament adopted by 430 votes 90 with 8 abstentions a resolution on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities. It notes that the crisis and the increasing disparities in competitiveness since the introduction of the euro have highlighted the need for enhanced coordination of economic and employment policies and improved budgetary practices . The European Semester framework was finally codified in Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 and has an essential role to play, leading the Union in taking further steps towards the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Parliament also notes that this is the first time that the European Semester has been fully implemented and the necessary lessons must be drawn in order for it to reach its full potential. Members welcome the Council's country-specific recommendations for the euro area, recalling that this is the first time that those recommendations have had a macroeconomic scenario of the euro area as a whole, but have not yet reached their full potential . They are concerned to note that, in many Member States, national parliaments, social partners and civil society were not involved in the European Semester process . Parliament urges the Commission to ensure that more democratic legitimacy be given to the process through the involvement of national parliaments, social partners and civil society. Lauding the economic dialogue held so far between European Parliament and national representatives, Parliament emphasises the importance of this dialogue with a view to achieving a fully operational European Semester framework and attaining the necessary level of democratic accountability with regard to all those involved. Members take stock of the various European Semester economic policy coordination proposals agreed at EU level and then translated into action at in each Member State. They note several areas in which the Commission and Member States could improve coordination. They welcome the measures that have been proposed but stress the need for proper coherence within and among the different Member States’ recommendations , for better use of the macroeconomic scoreboard and for account to be taken of the negative spill-over effects of individual members’ economic policies . They also welcome the emphasis on resource efficiency programmes, which have significant employment potential while also benefiting the environment, providing sustainable jobs and offering a clear return on investment for both public and private finances. Parliament notes that most of the structural reforms are concentrating on a small number of areas , but expresses its concern about the fact that no recommendations have been made on the Europe 2020 objectives to those Member States with a financial assistance programme. It calls on the Commission to assess the impact of the economic adjustment programme on progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets and to propose modifications designed to bring the adjustment programme into line with the Europe 2020 objectives. Parliament urges the Commission: · to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the recommendations given to Member States and to ensure that such recommendations are made according to the specific needs of the Member State concerned; · to be more explicit thorough and coherent in its recommendations , to continue to monitor recommendations made in the past, including detailed explanation and evaluation in those cases where the Commission thinks a country has only partially followed the recommendations and to take full account of the different economic and social realities of each Member State; · to make recommendations to Member States on how to minimise the negative spill-over effects of their internal policies and facilitate compliance of other Member States. Parliament encourages Member States to follow strictly the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact , as modified by the ‘six-pack’, by pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation taking into account country-specific circumstances, and to render public finances more resilient and reduce pressure from the banking sector. Members turn to democratic scrutiny, and regret that parliamentary scrutiny plays only a minor role in the process, and stress that the European Semester must in no way jeopardise the prerogatives of the European Parliament and the national parliaments. They note with concern that the European Parliament has been constantly marginalised in the main economic decisions resulting from the crisis. They recall that the European Parliament must be recognised as the appropriate European democratic forum for providing an overall evaluation at the end of the European Semester. As a sign of this recognition, representatives of the EU institutions and the economic bodies involved in the process should provide information to Members of the European Parliament when asked to do so. The Commission is called upon to report on the progress made regarding the call issued by Parliament in its resolution of 1 December 2011 for the Commission to ask civil society and social partners to contribute an annual shadow report on the progress of the Member States regarding the headline targets and the implementation of measures proposed in the National Reform Programmes (NRPs). Sectoral contributions to the European Semester 2012 Employment and Social Policies : Parliament deplores the fact that, despite their political commitment during the 2012 Spring European Council and the Commission’s guidance in the Employment Package, most Member States did not submit a National Job Plan (NJP) as part of their 2012 NRPs. It urges the Commission to call on Member States to deliver their NJPs as soon as possible, and make some recommendations on the content of NJPs, including comprehensive measures for job creation and green employment. The Commission is asked to follow up its plan for a labour market monitoring system based on objective data and for an individual tracking scheme for countries that do not comply with country-specific recommendations. Budgetary Policies : Parliament urges the Commission, in its next Annual Growth Survey to underline the role of the EU budget in the European Semester process by providing concrete data on its triggering, catalytic, synergetic and complementary effects on overall public expenditure at local, regional and national levels. It believes, moreover, that funding at EU level can generate savings for the Member States’ budgets and that this should be emphasised. The resolution urges the Council, during negotiations on the 2013 EU budget, to accept a political and public debate on the level of appropriations needed to implement the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ adopted at the June 2012 European Council. It expresses strong concern at the position repeatedly taken by the Council to reduce artificially the level of payment appropriations available in the EU budget , which would jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet its legal and political commitments. Parliament calls on the Council to agree with Parliament and the Commission on a common method to assess real payment needs. The Member States are invited to fully seize the possibilities agreed in the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ to consider reallocations within their national structural and cohesion fund envelopes (EUR 55 billion) in support of research and innovation, SMEs (including facilitating their access to EU funds) and youth employment. Parliament is of the opinion that Member States should seek to maximise the growth potential offered by other already agreed EU initiatives financed by the EU budget, such as the pilot phase for project bonds, the various existing EU innovative financial instruments in place since 2007 in the field of research innovation, support to SMEs or microcredit schemes. If properly combined and implemented, all these measures could form the foundations of an EU investment programme for the years to come with a dramatically positive effect on GDP and employment in the EU-27, with some academics estimating a GDP increase of 0.56 % and 1. 2 million additional jobs. Internal market: Members urge the Commission to make single market governance a key priority , since it contributes substantially to reaching the targets of the European Semester. They take the view that the Commission’s country-specific recommendations should offer the Member States more practical solutions for improving the functioning of the single market, and the Council and the Commission are asked to link the European Semester to the Single Market Act in order to secure the coherence of European economic policy and the creation of sustainable growth. Members also want the Commission to step up its actions in ensuring the proper implementation and enforcement of EU legislation in the Member States by making determined use of all its powers; Gender Equality : lastly, Members reiterate their call to integrate a gender equality perspective into the European Semester process, calling on the Commission to propose to a uniform format and criteria for integrating a gender equality perspective into the NRPs.
  • date: 2012-10-26T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
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  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/economy_finance/index_en.htm title: Economic and Financial Affairs commissioner: REHN Olli
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    • body: EP responsible: False committee: BUDG date: 2012-07-17T00:00:00 committee_full: Budgets (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: S&D name: TRAUTMANN Catherine
    • body: EP shadows: group: ALDE name: GOULARD Sylvie responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: PPE name: GAUZÈS Jean-Paul
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: EMPL date: 2012-06-14T00:00:00 committee_full: Employment and Social Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: CORNELISSEN Marije
    • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee: ENVI
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: FEMM date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Women's Rights and Gender Equality rapporteur: group: PPE name: MATERA Barbara
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2012-07-10T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: ECR name: HARBOUR Malcolm
    • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Regional Development committee: REGI
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    activities/1/text
    • The Council took stock of lessons learned from the 2012 European Semester monitoring exercise and possible improvements for 2013. The European Semester involves simultaneous monitoring of the Member States' economic, fiscal, employment and social policies, in accordance with common rules, over a six-month period every year. It was first organised in 2011.

      Although the outcome of this year's exercise was considered satisfactory overall, implementation is now being reviewed. The process has been made more challenging by strengthened rules on economic governance.

      The main themes discussed were the following:

      Focus on results: during this first phase, the Council could focus on an implementation review which would require preparation both by the Commission, in cooperation with individual Member States, and the Council preparatory bodies. In this regard, the Council could welcome the proposal of the Commission to organise a series of bilateral meetings in October, to take stock of planned actions to implement the 2012 recommendations.

      Holistic approach:

      ·        The General Affairs Council(GAC) has maintained an overview, notably through the semester roadmap, the synthesis report on Council discussions on the Annual Growth Survey, and approval of Country-specific Recommendations (CSR) in their entirety before EC endorsement. In 2013, while maintaining the broad involvement of Council formations, the role of Coreper could be better exploited.

      ·        For 2013, the distribution of tasks between the different Council configurations could be better articulated through stronger involvement of the Presidency, on the basis of discussion at Coreper and the GAC. Given the integrated nature of the semester and the number of cross-cutting issues, the division of labour between the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) is an issue.

      ·        The Competitiveness Council plays a key role in a number of policy areas, notably the Single Market. Its importance for the European semester is highlighted by the Commission decision to issue, from 2013, annual reports on the integration of the Single Market as an annex to the AGS. A stronger highlight could be given to the issues dealt with the COMPET Council which are directly relevant to the European semester.

      Dialogue:

      ·        Deeper dialogue from a very early stage, including through higher level and political contacts, could provide better information on CSR implementation. The Council could welcome the Commission proposal to organise three series of bilateral meetings at key moments in the preparatory cycle, in October, December/January, and April.

      ·        In the next cycle, starting with autumn 2012, thematic discussions on overarching issues at committee and Council level, could help prepare for CSR handling. In this regard, the Council could welcome the willingness of the Commission to further pursue multilateral surveillance of CSRs throughout the year.

      ·        Given the time constraints on CSR, Member States could explore how to better involve national parliaments and, where relevant, social partner organisations, in the first phase of the semester.

      CSR Handling:

      ·        Properly addressing the time constraints would require an overhaul of Commission and Member States' calendars for statistics, budget preparation etc, including changes in the six-pack. However, this could only be considered for the future.

      ·        In the same context it could be assessed whether the CSR exercise should be organised in a longer cycle, for example every two years.

      ·        Under current constraints, Member States could improve the situation by submitting their National Reform Programmes and Stability or Convergence Programmes by mid-April, facilitated by the Commission commitment to provide earlier guidance on National Reform Programme structure and content. Subsequently, the Commission could consider a somewhat earlier presentation of the CSR.

      ·        The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) was not fully synchronised with the rest of the semester.

      ·        The Council could welcome the Commission's intentions to adopt the Alert Mechanism Report(AMR) together with the Annual Growth Survey(AGS) and the in-depth reviews by end-March.

      The Councils ECOFIN and EPSCO will continue work on the question during their meetings on 4 and 9 October respectively.

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    • body: EP responsible: False committee: BUDG date: 2012-07-17T00:00:00 committee_full: Budgets (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: S&D name: TRAUTMANN Catherine
    • body: EP shadows: group: ALDE name: GOULARD Sylvie responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: PPE name: GAUZÈS Jean-Paul
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: EMPL date: 2012-06-14T00:00:00 committee_full: Employment and Social Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: CORNELISSEN Marije
    • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee: ENVI
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: FEMM date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Women's Rights and Gender Equality rapporteur: group: PPE name: MATERA Barbara
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2012-07-10T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: ECR name: HARBOUR Malcolm
    • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Regional Development committee: REGI
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    • body: EP responsible: False committee: AFCO date: 2012-09-05T00:00:00 committee_full: Constitutional Affairs rapporteur: group: EPP name: RANGEL Paulo
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: BUDG date: 2012-07-17T00:00:00 committee_full: Budgets (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: S&D name: TRAUTMANN Catherine
    • body: EP shadows: group: ALDE name: GOULARD Sylvie responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: EPP name: GAUZÈS Jean-Paul
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: EMPL date: 2012-06-14T00:00:00 committee_full: Employment and Social Affairs (Associated committee) rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: CORNELISSEN Marije
    • body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee: ENVI
    • body: EP responsible: False committee: FEMM date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00 committee_full: Women’s Rights and Gender Equality rapporteur: group: EPP name: MATERA Barbara
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    • The European Parliament adopted by 430 votes 90 with 8 abstentions a resolution on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities.

      It notes that the crisis and the increasing disparities in competitiveness since the introduction of the euro have highlighted the need for enhanced coordination of economic and employment policies and improved budgetary practices. The European Semester framework was finally codified in Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 and has an essential role to play, leading the Union in taking further steps towards the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Parliament also notes that this is the first time that the European Semester has been fully implemented and the necessary lessons must be drawn in order for it to reach its full potential.

      Members welcome the Council's country-specific recommendations for the euro area, recalling that this is the first time that those recommendations have had a macroeconomic scenario of the euro area as a whole, but have not yet reached their full potential. They are concerned to note that, in many Member States, national parliaments, social partners and civil society were not involved in the European Semester process. Parliament urges the Commission to ensure that more democratic legitimacy be given to the process through the involvement of national parliaments, social partners and civil society. Lauding the economic dialogue held so far between European Parliament and national representatives, Parliament emphasises the importance of this dialogue with a view to achieving a fully operational European Semester framework and attaining the necessary level of democratic accountability with regard to all those involved.

      Members take stock of the various European Semester economic policy coordination proposals agreed at EU level and then translated into action at in each Member State. They note several areas in which the Commission and Member States could improve coordination.

      They welcome the measures that have been proposed but stress the need for proper coherence within and among the different Member States’ recommendations, for better use of the macroeconomic scoreboard and for account to be taken of the negative spill-over effects of individual members’ economic policies. They also welcome the emphasis on resource efficiency programmes, which have significant employment potential while also benefiting the environment, providing sustainable jobs and offering a clear return on investment for both public and private finances.

      Parliament notes that most of the structural reforms are concentrating on a small number of areas, but expresses its concern about the fact that no recommendations have been made on the Europe 2020 objectives to those Member States with a financial assistance programme. It calls on the Commission to assess the impact of the economic adjustment programme on progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets and to propose modifications designed to bring the adjustment programme into line with the Europe 2020 objectives.

      Parliament urges the Commission:

      ·        to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the recommendations given to Member States and to ensure that such recommendations are made according to the specific needs of the Member State concerned;

      ·        to be more explicit thorough and coherent in its recommendations, to continue to monitor recommendations made in the past, including detailed explanation and evaluation in those cases where the Commission thinks a country has only partially followed the recommendations and to take full account of the different economic and social realities of each Member State;

      ·        to make recommendations to Member States on how to minimise the negative spill-over effects of their internal policies and facilitate compliance of other Member States.

      Parliament encourages Member States to follow strictly the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact, as modified by the ‘six-pack’, by pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation taking into account country-specific circumstances, and to render public finances more resilient and reduce pressure from the banking sector.

      Members turn to democratic scrutiny, and regret that parliamentary scrutiny plays only a minor role in the process, and stress that the European Semester must in no way jeopardise the prerogatives of the European Parliament and the national parliaments. They note with concern that the European Parliament has been constantly marginalised in the main economic decisions resulting from the crisis. They recall that the European Parliament must be recognised as the appropriate European democratic forum for providing an overall evaluation at the end of the European Semester. As a sign of this recognition, representatives of the EU institutions and the economic bodies involved in the process should provide information to Members of the European Parliament when asked to do so.

      The Commission is called upon to report on the progress made regarding the call issued by Parliament in its resolution of 1 December 2011 for the Commission to ask civil society and social partners to contribute an annual shadow report on the progress of the Member States regarding the headline targets and the implementation of measures proposed in the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).

      Sectoral contributions to the European Semester 2012

      Employment and Social Policies: Parliament deplores the fact that, despite their political commitment during the 2012 Spring European Council and the Commission’s guidance in the Employment Package, most Member States did not submit a National Job Plan (NJP) as part of their 2012 NRPs. It urges the Commission to call on Member States to deliver their NJPs as soon as possible, and make some recommendations on the content of NJPs, including comprehensive measures for job creation and green employment. The Commission is asked to follow up its plan for a labour market monitoring system based on objective data and for an individual tracking scheme for countries that do not comply with country-specific recommendations.

      Budgetary Policies: Parliament urges the Commission, in its next Annual Growth Survey to underline the role of the EU budget in the European Semester process by providing concrete data on its triggering, catalytic, synergetic and complementary effects on overall public expenditure at local, regional and national levels. It believes, moreover, that funding at EU level can generate savings for the Member States’ budgets and that this should be emphasised.

      The resolution urges the Council, during negotiations on the 2013 EU budget, to accept a political and public debate on the level of appropriations needed to implement the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ adopted at the June 2012 European Council. It expresses strong concern at the position repeatedly taken by the Council to reduce artificially the level of payment appropriations available in the EU budget, which would jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet its legal and political commitments. Parliament calls on the Council to agree with Parliament and the Commission on a common method to assess real payment needs.

      The Member States are invited to fully seize the possibilities agreed in the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ to consider reallocations within their national structural and cohesion fund envelopes (EUR 55 billion) in support of research and innovation, SMEs (including facilitating their access to EU funds) and youth employment.

      Parliament is of the opinion that Member States should seek to maximise the growth potential offered by other already agreed EU initiatives financed by the EU budget, such as the pilot phase for project bonds, the various existing EU innovative financial instruments in place since 2007 in the field of research innovation, support to SMEs or microcredit schemes. If properly combined and implemented, all these measures could form the foundations of an EU investment programme for the years to come with a dramatically positive effect on GDP and employment in the EU-27, with some academics estimating a GDP increase of 0.56 % and 1. 2 million additional jobs.

      Internal market: Members urge the Commission to make single market governance a key priority, since it contributes substantially to reaching the targets of the European Semester. They take the view that the Commission’s country-specific recommendations should offer the Member States more practical solutions for improving the functioning of the single market, and the Council and the Commission are asked to link the European Semester to the Single Market Act in order to secure the coherence of European economic policy and the creation of sustainable growth. Members also want the Commission to step up its actions in ensuring the proper implementation and enforcement of EU legislation in the Member States by making determined use of all its powers;

      Gender Equality: lastly, Members reiterate their call to integrate a gender equality perspective into the European Semester process, calling on the Commission to propose to a uniform format and criteria for integrating a gender equality perspective into the NRPs.

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      • The Council took stock of lessons learned from the 2012 European Semester monitoring exercise and possible improvements for 2013. The European Semester involves simultaneous monitoring of the Member States' economic, fiscal, employment and social policies, in accordance with common rules, over a six-month period every year. It was first organised in 2011.

        Although the outcome of this year's exercise was considered satisfactory overall, implementation is now being reviewed. The process has been made more challenging by strengthened rules on economic governance.

        The main themes discussed were the following:

        Focus on results: during this first phase, the Council could focus on an implementation review which would require preparation both by the Commission, in cooperation with individual Member States, and the Council preparatory bodies. In this regard, the Council could welcome the proposal of the Commission to organise a series of bilateral meetings in October, to take stock of planned actions to implement the 2012 recommendations.

        Holistic approach:

        ·        The General Affairs Council(GAC) has maintained an overview, notably through the semester roadmap, the synthesis report on Council discussions on the Annual Growth Survey, and approval of Country-specific Recommendations (CSR) in their entirety before EC endorsement. In 2013, while maintaining the broad involvement of Council formations, the role of Coreper could be better exploited.

        ·        For 2013, the distribution of tasks between the different Council configurations could be better articulated through stronger involvement of the Presidency, on the basis of discussion at Coreper and the GAC. Given the integrated nature of the semester and the number of cross-cutting issues, the division of labour between the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) is an issue.

        ·        The Competitiveness Council plays a key role in a number of policy areas, notably the Single Market. Its importance for the European semester is highlighted by the Commission decision to issue, from 2013, annual reports on the integration of the Single Market as an annex to the AGS. A stronger highlight could be given to the issues dealt with the COMPET Council which are directly relevant to the European semester.

        Dialogue:

        ·        Deeper dialogue from a very early stage, including through higher level and political contacts, could provide better information on CSR implementation. The Council could welcome the Commission proposal to organise three series of bilateral meetings at key moments in the preparatory cycle, in October, December/January, and April.

        ·        In the next cycle, starting with autumn 2012, thematic discussions on overarching issues at committee and Council level, could help prepare for CSR handling. In this regard, the Council could welcome the willingness of the Commission to further pursue multilateral surveillance of CSRs throughout the year.

        ·        Given the time constraints on CSR, Member States could explore how to better involve national parliaments and, where relevant, social partner organisations, in the first phase of the semester.

        CSR Handling:

        ·        Properly addressing the time constraints would require an overhaul of Commission and Member States' calendars for statistics, budget preparation etc, including changes in the six-pack. However, this could only be considered for the future.

        ·        In the same context it could be assessed whether the CSR exercise should be organised in a longer cycle, for example every two years.

        ·        Under current constraints, Member States could improve the situation by submitting their National Reform Programmes and Stability or Convergence Programmes by mid-April, facilitated by the Commission commitment to provide earlier guidance on National Reform Programme structure and content. Subsequently, the Commission could consider a somewhat earlier presentation of the CSR.

        ·        The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) was not fully synchronised with the rest of the semester.

        ·        The Council could welcome the Commission's intentions to adopt the Alert Mechanism Report(AMR) together with the Annual Growth Survey(AGS) and the in-depth reviews by end-March.

        The Councils ECOFIN and EPSCO will continue work on the question during their meetings on 4 and 9 October respectively.

      activities/8/docs/0/text
      • The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Jean-Paul GAUZES (EPP, FR) on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities.

        The committee notes that the European Semester framework was finally codified in Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 and has an essential role to play, leading the Union in taking further steps towards the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It also notes that this is the first time that the European Semester has been fully implemented and the necessary lessons must be drawn in order for it to reach its full potential.

        Members are concerned to note that, in many Member States, national parliaments, social partners and civil society were not involved in the European Semester process. It urges the Commission to ensure that more democratic legitimacy be given to the process through the involvement of national parliaments, social partners and civil society.

        Lauding the economic dialogue held so far between European Parliament and national representatives, the report emphasises the importance of this dialogue with a view to achieving a fully operational European Semester framework and attaining the necessary level of democratic accountability with regard to all those involved.

        Members take stock of the various European Semester economic policy coordination proposals agreed at EU level and then translated into action at in each Member State. They note several areas in which the Commission and Member States could improve coordination. 

        They welcome the measures that have been proposed but stress the need for proper coherence within and among the different Member States’ recommendations, for better use of the macroeconomic scoreboard and for account to be taken of the negative spill-over effects of individual members’ economic policies. The report notes that most of the structural reforms are concentrating on a small number of areas, such as labour markets, the taxation system, the banking sector, the pension system, the services sector, liberalising certain industries, improving the efficiency and quality of public expenditure, cutting red tape, removing unnecessary layers of government, combating tax evasion, and reforming mortgage and real estate markets. However, the committee expresses its concern about the fact that no recommendations have been made on the Europe 2020 objectives to those Member States with a financial assistance programme. It calls on the Commission to assess the impact of the economic adjustment programme on progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets and to propose modifications designed to bring the adjustment programme into line with the Europe 2020 objectives.

        The report urges the Commission:

        • to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the recommendations given to Member States and to ensure that such recommendations are made according to the specific needs of the Member State concerned;
        • to be more explicit in its recommendations, to continue to monitor recommendations made in the past, including detailed explanation and evaluation in those cases where the Commission thinks a country has only partially followed the recommendations and to take full account of the different economic and social realities of each Member State;
        • to make recommendations to Member States on how to minimise the negative spill-over effects of their internal policies and facilitate compliance of other Member States.

        The committee encourages Member States to follow strictly the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact, as modified by the ‘six-pack’, by pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation taking into account country-specific circumstances, and to render public finances more resilient and reduce pressure from the banking sector.

        Members turn to democratic scrutiny, and note with concern that the European Parliament has been constantly marginalised in the main economic decisions resulting from the crisis. They consider that it must be involved in order to increase the legitimacy of decisions that affect all citizens. They recall that the European Parliament must be recognised as the appropriate European democratic forum for providing an overall evaluation at the end of the European Semester. As a sign of this recognition, representatives of the EU institutions and the economic bodies involved in the process should provide information to Members of the European Parliament when asked to do so.

        Sectoral contributions to the European Semester 2012

        Employment and Social Policies: the committee deplores the fact that, despite their political commitment during the 2012 Spring European Council and the Commission’s guidance in the Employment Package, most Member States did not submit a National Job Plan (NJP) as part of their 2012 NRPs. They urge the Commission to call on Member States to deliver their NJPs as soon as possible, and make some recommendations on the content of NJPs, including comprehensive measures for job creation and green employment. The Commission is asked to follow up its plan for a labour market monitoring system based on objective data and for an individual tracking scheme for countries that do not comply with country-specific recommendations.

        Budgetary Policies: the report urges the Commission, in its next Annual Growth Survey to underline the role of the EU budget in the European Semester process by providing concrete data on its triggering, catalytic, synergetic and complementary effects on overall public expenditure at local, regional and national levels. It believes, moreover, that funding at EU level can generate savings for the Member States’ budgets and that this should be emphasised.

        Members go on to urge the Council, during negotiations on the 2013 EU budget, to accept a political and public debate on the level of appropriations needed to implement the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ adopted at the June 2012 European Council. They express strong concern at the position repeatedly taken by the Council to reduce artificially the level of payment appropriations available in the EU budget, which would jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet its legal and political commitments. The report calls on the Council to agree with Parliament and the Commission on a common method to assess real payment needs.

        Member States are asked to seize the possibilities agreed in the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ to consider reallocations within their national structural and cohesion fund envelopes (EUR 55 billion) in support of research and innovation, SMEs (including facilitating their access to EU funds) and youth employment; calls on the Commission to provide, in its AGS 2013 to be published in November 2012, a full and complete picture of what has been achieved in that respect.

        Internal market: Members urge the Commission to make single market governance a key priority, since it contributes substantially to reaching the targets of the European Semester. They take the view that the Commission’s country-specific recommendations should offer the Member States more practical solutions for improving the functioning of the single market, so that stronger public support and political commitment are created to encourage the completion of the single market. The Council and the Commission are asked to link the European Semester to the Single Market Act in order to secure the coherence of European economic policy and the creation of sustainable growth. Members also want the Commission to step up its actions in ensuring the proper implementation and enforcement of EU legislation in the Member States by making determined use of all its powers;

        Gender Equality: lastly, Members reiterate their call to integrate a gender equality perspective into the European Semester process, calling on the Commission to propose to a uniform format and criteria for integrating a gender equality perspective into the NRPs.

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      5.10.01 Convergence of economic policies, public deficit, interest rates