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European Semester Autumn Package: rebounding stronger from the crisis and making Europe greener and more digital

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Brussels, 24 November 2021

 

Today, the European Commission has launched the 2022 European Semester cycle of economic policy coordination. The European Semester Autumn Package includes the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey, Opinions on euro area Draft Budgetary Plans (DBPs) for 2022, policy recommendations for the euro area and the Commission's proposal for a Joint Employment Report. The package draws upon the Autumn 2021 Economic Forecast which noted that the European economy is moving from recovery to expansion but is now facing new headwinds.

 

Annual Sustainable Growth Survey

 

This year's Annual Sustainable Growth Survey (ASGS) puts forward an ambitious agenda for 2022 that steers the EU away from crisis management towards a sustainable and fair recovery that strengthens the EU economy's resilience. It also sets out how the Recovery and Resilience Facility(RRF), the centrepiece of NextGenerationEU - will be more deeply integrated into the new European Semester cycle. This will ensure synergies between these processes and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens for Member States. Moreover, the ASGS lays down how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be further integrated into the European Semester to provide a fully updated and consistent SDG reporting across Member States.

 

The Recovery and Resilience Facility, with a budget of €723.8 billion in grants and loans, will have a central role in building a resilient economy that puts fairness at its heart. With the EU's priorities embedded in the RRF, the European Semester will now better guide Member States in making a success of the green and digital transitions, and building a more resilient EU economy. As of today, the Commission has endorsed 22 national recovery and resilience plans and the Council has approved all of these.

 

This has unlocked pre-financing disbursements of €52.3 billion for 17 Member States since August 2021. Overall, the plans approved by the Council so far represent €291 billion in grants and €154 billion in loans. The focus now turns to implementing the recovery plans on the ground. RRF pre-financing disbursements have already started providing valuable contributions to the four dimensions of competitive sustainability outlined in the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey: environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness and macroeconomic stability. The Commission also calls upon Member States to ensure that national reforms and investments reflect the priorities identified in the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey. (...)

 

Steps under the Stability and Growth Pact in relation to Romania

 

Romania has been under the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) since April 2020 due to the breach of the Treaty deficit threshold in 2019. In June 2021, the Council adopted a new recommendation to Romania to bring an end to Romania's excessive government deficit by 2024 at the latest. In light of the achieved intermediate target for 2021, the Commission considers that no decision on further steps in Romania's EDP should be taken at this juncture. It will reassess Romania's budgetary situation once a new government has presented a budget for 2022 and a medium-term fiscal strategy.

 

Enhanced surveillance report and post-programme surveillance reports

 

The twelfth enhanced surveillance report for Greece finds that the country has further progressed towards achieving the agreed commitments, despite delays encountered in some areas which are partly linked to the challenging circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the catastrophic wildfires in August 2021. The report could serve as a basis for the Eurogroup to decide on the release of the next set of policy-contingent debt measures. The post-programme surveillance reports for Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Ireland find that all four Member States retain their capacity to service their outstanding debt. (...)

 

Next steps

 

The Commission invites the Eurogroup and the Council to discuss the package and endorse the guidance offered today. It looks forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the European Parliament on the contents of this package and each subsequent step in the European Semester cycle.

 

Background

 

The European Semester provides a well-established framework for coordinating economic and employment policies of the Member States, and will continue to play this role in the recovery phase and in advancing on the green and digital transition. The policy priorities will be structured, like in previous years, around the four dimensions of competitive sustainability and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the centrepiece of NextGenerationEU with €723.8 billion in loans and grants available to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU countries. The aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.

 

 

Assessment of action taken by Romania in response to the Council Recommendation of 18 June 2021 with a view to bringing an end to the situation of an excessive government deficit in Romania

 

1. INTRODUCTION

 

On 18 June 2021, the Council adopted a recommendation under Article 126(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), with a view to bringing an end to the situation of an excessive government deficit in Romania by 2024 at the latest. Romania was recommended to reduce the general government deficit to 8.0% of GDP in 2021, 6.2% of GDP in 2022, 4.4% of GDP in 2023, and 2.9% of GDP in 2024.

 

Based on the Commission 2021 spring forecast underpinning the Council recommendation, this was considered consistent with an annual structural adjustment of 0.7% of GDP in 2021, 1.8% of GDP in 2022, 1.7% of GDP in 2023, and 1.5% of GDP in 2024, and with a nominal growth rate of net primary government expenditure of 3.4% in 2021, 1.3% in 2022, 0.9% in 2023 and 0.0% in 2024.

 

The Council recommended that Romania fully implement the measures already adopted for 2021 and specify and implement the additional measures that are necessary to achieve the correction of the excessive deficit by 2024. The Council also recommended that Romania use any windfall gains to reduce the general government deficit and that budgetary consolidation measures secure a sustainable correction in a growthfriendly manner.

 

Furthermore, the Council recommended that Romania ensure the full and effective application of the national fiscal framework and to support the fiscal consolidation with comprehensive reforms. In accordance with Article 3(4a) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1467/97, the Council established the deadline of 15 October 2021 for Romania to report in detail on action taken in response to the Council recommendation. Romania submitted its report on 14 October 2021.

 

The Commission has examined the budgetary strategy of Romania based on the information included in the report on action taken in order to assess whether the Member State has complied with the Council recommendation of 18 June 2021.

 

(Please find the full text on: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/economy-finance/assessment_of_the_action_taken_by_romania.pdf)

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