The EESC's recommendations for a solid reform of the European Semester

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advies EESC: The EESC's recommendations for a solid reform of the European Semester


Key points


  • considers that ownership by the Member States is only possible with the concrete and structural involvement of political, economic and social actors in the European Semester process, that the involvement of social partners and civil society organisations must become one of the pillars of this revised Semester, as well as that of national parliaments and local and regional authorities, and that the competences of the EP should be increased to the point where it has the capacity to co- decide on broad economic policy guidelines and proposals of a European nature;
  • proposes reforming the European Semester in order to strengthen its transparency and democracy, the involvement of organised civil society and the effectiveness of its operation, and stated 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, should cover a period of three years, with annual evaluations and reviews, in order to facilitate the processes of national ownership and organised civil society participation, and that the most appropriate incentive is to link their implementation to the EU budget and to receive part of the funds from it, along the lines  of the Recovery and Resilience Facility;
  • 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, or in a pre-existing one 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, while respecting the fact that it is up to national legislation to further specify the procedures and bodies in which this consultation is carried out, and complying with criteria of openness, transparency and representativeness. This regulation should establish basic criteria and principles concerning, inter alia, the following issues: timetables (linked to those of the RRF and the European Semester), the formality of meetings and public access to documentation in due time and form, minutes, public communication of proposals and government responses and a roadmap for the implementation of agreements.