This opinion is on the Annual Growth Survey 2018 (AGS), which establishes the main economic priorities and provides policy guidance for the following year. The European Commission published the 2018 AGS on 22 November 2017 as part of the European Semester Autumn Package. The 2018 AGS is focused on fostering job creation and growth and establishes three main priorities: boosting investment to support the recovery and to increase long-term growth; structural reforms for inclusive growth, upward convergence and competitiveness; responsible fiscal policies to support sustainability and convergence.
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Ad hoc groups & Sub-committees - Related Opinions
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 aim of this own-initiative opinion is to assess the existing methods of stakeholder consultation carried out by the European Commission in accordance with Article 11(3) TEU. On the basis of this assessment, the opinion sets out proposals that are intended to be constructive and realistic, with a view to structurally enhancing and monitoring the consultation process in the interest of all parties.
The Europe 2020 strategy's main problems can be seen in the areas of governance, the targets set, civil society participation and its implementation. The architecture of the strategy's governance has formalised a structural distortion in which economic aspects take precedence over social and environmental governance, subordinating the Europe 2020 targets to the macro-economic priorities of the European Semester. It is worrying that the Europe 2020 strategy does not involve organised civil society adequately, at either national or European level.
It is time to build the social pillar of the EMU within the framework of a social Europe, without which citizens' adhesion to the European project as a whole will remain at risk. The EESC recommends to launch a new European Social Action Programme with tangible measures to develop social governance and participatory ownership of the European project. The EESC would propose two new exploratory initiatives: - The issuance of European Social Bonds financed, owned, managed and supervised transparently by civil society stakeholders; - The setting-up of a European Education Network for Unemployed Workers.
Farmers are under great pressure from markets – often through low or strongly fluctuating prices – to adapt by specialising and rationalising their businesses. These processes could lead to a problematic regional concentration and to the abandoning of farming in disadvantaged regions.
The 2013 Annual Growth Survey (AGS), which launches the European semester, sets out what the Commission believes should be the overall budgetary, economic and social priorities for the this year. Given the importance of the involvement of the organised civil society and the social partners in setting priorities for action at the national and EU level, the EESC issues its opinion as a contribution to the debates ahead of the Spring European Council.