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European Semester Spring Package: Recommendations for a coordinated Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The European Commission has proposed country-specific recommendations (CSRs) and privded economic policy guidance to all EU Member States in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The recommendations focus on the most urgent challenges brought about by the pandemic and on relaunching sustainable growth.

The recommendations are structured around two objectives:

  • in the short-term, mitigating the coronavirus pandemic's severe negative socio-economic consequences;
  • in the short to medium-term, achieving sustainable and inclusive growth which facilitates the green transition and the digital transformation.

The Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy outlined the Commission's growth strategy, based on promoting competitive sustainability to build an economy that works for people and the planet. With the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis this remains of utmost importance. The recommendations cover the four dimensions of competitive sustainability - stability, fairness, environmental sustainability and competitiveness - and also place a specific emphasis on health. The recommendations also reflect the Commission's commitment to integrate the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals into the European Semester as they offer an integrated framework encompassing public health, social, environmental and economic concerns.

The recommendations cover areas such as investing in public health and resilience of the health sector, preserving employment through income support for affected workers, investing in people and skills, supporting the corporate sector (in particular small and medium-sized enterprises) and taking action against aggressive tax planning and money laundering. Recovery and investment must go hand-in-hand, reshaping the EU economy faced with the digital and green transitions.

The fiscal CSRs this year are qualitative, departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply. They reflect the activation of the general escape clause, recommending that Member States take all necessary measures to effectively address the pandemic, sustain the economy and support the ensuing recovery. When economic conditions allow, fiscal policies should aim at achieving prudent medium term fiscal positions and ensuring debt sustainability, while enhancing investment.

Please find more information on the European Commission website © European Union, 1995-2020.

Remarks on the European Semester Spring Package by Commissioner Gentiloni (Economy) and Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis (An economy that works for the people) are also available.

To discuss this subject on the COVID-19 Forum, please click here.