Recommendations for a solid reform of the European Semester


The European Semester is the semi-annual cycle of economic, social and fiscal policy coordination between member states. Following the COVID-19 crisis and the adoption of NextGenerationEU, Europe's largest stimulus package ever, the Semester now also monitors the national Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs). While it has played an important role since its introduction in 2011, the Semester has also shown significant weaknesses. Therefore, the EESC renews its call for a reform of the Semester in order to strengthen its transparency and democracy, the involvement of organised civil society and the effectiveness of its operation. In an opinion, built on a recent broad consultation of organised civil society in 23 EU countries, the EESC suggests concrete steps to build a permanent and real consultation of organised civil society in the European Semester.

Key points

In the opinion, the EESC:

  • states that existing systems of indicators must be reviewed, complemented and made consistent with each other, thus helping to improve evaluation procedures;
  • believes that the Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs), one of the main instruments of the Semester, should cover a period of three years, with annual evaluations and reviews. The most appropriate incentive to comply with the CSRs is to link their implementation to the EU budget and to receive part of the funds from it;
  • proposes that the social partners and civil society organisations be involved through a structured formal consultation procedure, which should take place in a specific body to which such functions are legally attributed. Existing national economic and social councils should also play a relevant role in this process;
  • believes that the principles and general characteristics of structured and permanent involvement of organised civil society in the various stages of the European Semester should be defined in an EU regulation. 

The full text of the opinion can be found here

Additional information

Section: Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO)
Opinion type: own-initiative
Rapporteurs: Gonçalo LOBO XAVIER (Employers-Group I / Portugal), Javier DOZ ORRIT (Workers-Group II / Spain), Luca JAHIER (Civil Society Organisations-Group III / Italy)
Reference: ECO/600-EESC-2022
Date of adoption by section: 18/04/2023
Result of the vote: 72 in favour, 0 against, 4 abstentions
Date of adoption in plenary: 27/04/2023
Result of the vote: adopted


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