The European Semester Ad hoc Group (ESG) was established in 2017 in response to the growing importance of the Semester. It is a horizontal body that strengthens and supports the work carried out in the EESC Sections. It focuses on examining proposals from European civil society on sustainable growth and employment, thus ensuring a continuous EESC contribution to the annual European Semester cycle. At its origin an annual cycle of economic policy coordination, the Semester has later been complemented by actions building on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the green and digital transformations. In light of the pandemic, the Semester plays a key role in ensuring a quick socio-economic recovery and achieving sustainable and inclusive growth in line with the new growth strategy based on the European Green Deal and the concept of competitive sustainability. The role of the Semester will grow further with the proposed Recovery and Resilience Facility. The Facility should inter alia help Member States address challenges identified in the framework of the Semester. Support to Member States will be made dependent on respecting recommendations made in the framework of the Semester. The size of the sums involved and the new orientation of the Semester exercise makes this an important task, requiring significant engagement of the ESG. The outcomes of our discussions will feed into our opinions, drawn up regularly within the European semester cycle, notably on the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy.
The participation of all Europeans, through civil society organisations, is needed to make the process of reforming the economy and society possible. Through its activities – preparing opinions, conducting country visits, and organising meetings/conferences – the ESG helps bring quality to the process, improve its legitimacy and contribute to add value through improved national ownership, better priority setting, more efficient implementation and raised national awareness. In line with this, the European Semester Group intends to continue its important work to collect, channel and promote policy views from national civil society organisations through the regular national country visits and discussion fora.
For latest updates on the ESG group activities, check the documents to the left.