The Committee's opinion, prepared in view of the Spring European Council, comments on the Commission’s ‘Annual growth survey’ (AGS) 2012.
In the first part, it deals with general issues related to the AGS such as: its focus on growth, on fiscal consolidation and on the implementation of reforms agreed in the framework of the European semester as well as the implication of organised civil society and social partners in the AGS process.
The second part brings together specific contributions from various EESC opinions that were adopted in 2011 in relation to the five AGS priorities: pursuing differentiated, growth-friendly fiscal consolidation; restoring normal lending to the economy; promoting growth and competitiveness; tackling unemployment and the social consequences of the crisis; and modernising public administration. These comments update the EESC’s position on the AGS 2011 that was adopted in March 2011.
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 Committee fully supports the Europe 2020 Strategy as well as the progress towards ex ante fiscal policy coordination in the European Semester and hopes that, at least for countries in the euro area, the current legislative proposals for European economic policy coordination will be the first step towards a genuine common economic policy and the full coordination of fiscal policies. ..."
On 23 February the EESC adopted two opinions addressing the issues of education and training and vocational skills development in the EU. Initiatives intended to promote high quality education for all could be meaningless, the EESC warned, if the austerity measures still in place in many EU countries prevented these from making the highly needed investments. As for the Commission's New Skills Agenda, the EESC wishes to see more innovative solutions focusing on social and gender perspectives, non-formal and informal learning and entrepreneurship as a life skill.
Seven years since the start of the crisis, the Committee expresses its concern over high unemployment, which is an issue in certain Member States in particular. The 2016 AGS contains much more in the way of social analysis, objectives and goals, but for this new approach to be effective, it should not be based on the reiteration of the policy recommendations of previous years.
On Monday 3 October the Greek Economic and Social Committee (OKE) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), jointly organised the conference: Reforms needed to re-launch the Greek competitiveness which took place in Athens, in the premises of OKE.On Monday 3 October the Greek Economic and Social Committee (OKE) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), jointly organised the conference: Reforms needed to re-launch the Greek competitiveness which took place in Athens, in the premises of OKE.On Monday 3 October the Greek Economic and Social Committee (OKE) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), jointly organised the conference: Reforms needed to re-launch the Greek competitiveness which took place in Athens, in the premises of OKE.
It is vital to foster economic growth; only if Europe has a strong economy, can it better face the political and social challenges that stand before it. This was one of the main messages of the EESC opinions adopted yesterday in Brussels. The EESC calls for more investment– both private and public – directly in the countries that need it most. The EU body representing Civil Society also finds that the Juncker plan is not enough ...