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The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) endorses the priorities set out in the European Commission's 2017 Annual Growth Survey.
The European Semester is seen as a good instrument for further progress in policies and reform, leading to recovery and employment. The AGS 2017 outlines the most pressing economic and social priorities, accompanied by specific recommendations, however the EESC takes very seriously the negative aspects of the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact and Country-Specific Recommendations applied at national level to set the euro area fiscal stance.
The absence of economic and social convergence among Member States and regions is a threat to the political sustainability of the European project and all the benefits it has brought to European citizens. Developing economic and labour market resilience with economic, social, environmental and institutional sustainability should be the principle guiding policies. This will foster upwards convergence and fairness in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy while managing the challenges posed by digitalisation and demographic change.
The biggest challenge now facing Europe's economy is how to sustain the recovery that is now underway. This is the main message of the 2014 Annual Growth Survey (AGS). Its adoption kicks off the fourth European Semester of economic policy coordination in an environment where growth is beginning to return and Member States are making progress on correcting the imbalances that developed before the crisis.
The EU needs to enhance the growth part of its overall strategy. This must be based on combining what the Member States can do at national level with action at EU level, anchoring these efforts in the Europe 2020 strategy and in our new governance structures.