European Semester


The European Semester is the yearly cycle of economic policy coordination that provides the framework for steering and monitoring Member States economic and social reforms to reach the Europe 2020 targets.

The Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth sets five ambitious targets, one of these is to lift 20 million persons out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020.  All Member States have translated the Europe 2020 goals into National targets that are to be achieved by 2020.  These individual efforts need to be coordinated to achieve the desired impact on growth and better cohesion.  This is where the European Semester cycle play’s a vital role.

The European Commission has urged the Member States to better reflect social investment in the allocation of resources and the general architecture of their social policies.  The European Semester framework is the key monitoring platform of Member States social reforms.  Such reforms explicitly include the shift to community based care and integrated housing policies further to the European Union’s social investment approach.

This page sets out:


European Semester policy cycle for 2016 (started November 2015)
November 2015 The European Commission publish the following documents:

·      The Annual Growth Survey 2016.

·      A set of recommendations for the Euro area.

·      An Alert Mechanism Report which starts the annual Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure cycle.

December 2015 ·      The Member States adopt their budgets for 2016.
December 2015 – January 2016


·      The European Commission carries out fact finding missions in each of the Member States in order to produce the Country Reports in February.

·      The Council discuss the European Commission’s opinion of the Member State budgets.

January 2016 ·      The European Parliament hold a dialogue on the Annual Growth Survey.

·      The Council adopt the recommendations for the Euro area and offer their conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey and Alert Mechanism Report

February 2016 ·      The European Commission publish Country Reports on all of the Member States following their fact finding missions.  18 Member States were identified as experiencing macroeconomic imbalances and therefore receive an in-depth review.  These 18 countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, France, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The Country Reports of Bulgaria (p. 46) and Romania (p. 61) specifically mention deinstitutionalisation as a structural issue requiring further and continuing action on the part of these Member States.

March 2016 ·     The European Commission decide which of the Member States who received an in-depth review are to be categorised as experiencing either imbalances or excessive imbalances.

·      The European Council adopt their economic priorities based on the Annual Growth Survey.

March – April 2016 ·      Bilateral meetings with Member States are held to discuss (in light of the European Commission’s Country Reports) what their national policy choices are in preparation for presenting their National Reform Programmes.
April 2016 ·      The Member States present their National Reform Programmes and their Stability or Convergence Programmes.
May 2016


·     The European Commission proposes Country Specific Recommendations for each of the Member States.
May – June 2016 ·      The European Parliament discusses the European Commission’s proposals for the Country Specific Recommendations.
June-July 2016 ·    The Council discusses the Country Specific Recommendations.

·      The European Council endorse the final Country Specific Recommendations.

September 2016 ·      The European Parliament hold a debate/resolution on the European Semester and Country Specific Recommendations.

·      The Member States present their draft budgetary plans for 2017.

October 2016 ·      The European Parliament have a dialogue on the 2017 Annual Growth Survey.

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European Semester policy cycle for 2017 (started November 2016)

November 2016:

the 2017 Annual Growth Survey

a Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area

a Communication “Towards a positive fiscal stance for the euro area”

the 2017 Alert Mechanism Report

the 2017 draft Joint Employment Report

the assessment of euro area Member States’ Draft Budgetary Plans for 2017: a Chapeau Communication and individual Opinions for 18 euro area Member States (all except Greece) including the Assessment of action taken by Portugal and Spain, as well as analytical Staff Working Documents.

This package sets out economic and social priorities for the EU, the euro area and the Member States’ levels. It marks the start of the European Semester 2017 and will be discussed with the other EU institutions and stakeholders to set the scene for the coming year. Once agreed, this guidance should be reflected in the Member States’ policies, in particular in their national programmes to be presented spring 2017.

December – January: European Commission fact-finding visits to each of the Member States.

February: Country Reports 



Commentary on and information about the European Semester:

  1. Questions and answers on the start of the European Semester 2017.
  2. The strategic and governance framework underpinning the European Semester.
  3. European Commission Thematic Factsheets – In core policy areas of the European Semester, thematic factsheets provide cross-country information on economic or social challenges, useful policies to address them, and examples of good practice.
  4. Eurostat – provides statistical support for the Europe 2020 strategy and monitors progress towards its headline targets in its annual ‘flagship publication’ entitled Smarter, greener, more inclusive? — Indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy.
  5. The EU Alliance for a democratic, social and sustainable European Semester or (EU Semester Alliance): .  The EU Semester Alliance is producing reports on specific countries to highlight some of the issues that need to be addressed in the Semester. The first of these reports focuses on Latvia.
  6. The European Social Network publishes annual Reports on the European Semester: annual 2015 European Semester Report “Looking ahead: priorities for the European Semester 2016”.  In this report you will find: 22 country profiles; cross-country comparison analysing the importance given to social issues in the key European Semester documents drafted for 22 Member States; 3-page summary of key messages and recommendations.
  7. The European Parliament adopted its economic, social and single market priorities for 2016 in three separate resolutions on the 25th February 2016.  The Parliament called for an EU wide definition of social fairness, a strengthening of the social pillar in the European Semester cycle and better Member State follow up and implementation of the Country Specific Recommendations.