The European Commission’s vice-president for the euro and social dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, has warned of social inequality, a problematic business environment and labour shortages in Latvia.
As reported by The Baltic Course, the European Commission on February 26 published its annual analysis of the economic and social challenges in all 28 EU member states. The country reports serve as the basis for discussion about how to improve national policies ahead of the Commission’s Country-Specific Recommendations later this year.
“Against the background of growing external risks and increased volatility in financial markets, it is urgent to strengthen the fundamentals of our economies. The Commission’s analysis shows that reforms are being carried out on a number of policy areas, but the effort is uneven. A number of member states still need to be more decisive in tackling persistent vulnerabilities, such as high public and private debt,” Dombrovskis said.
As regards Latvia, he said the government should seize the opportunity offered by the growth phase of the business cycle and start actively implementing structural reforms.
Overall, the EU is in better shape this year, but there is still much work to do in all member states to create jobs.
Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, responsible for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “Although we have now reached the highest employment rate since the beginning of the crisis in 2008, still too many Europeans are unemployed. Through the European Semester, we remain committed to help Member States’ efforts to get people back into jobs.”
In turn, Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, responsible for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said boosting jobs and growth remains a top objective. “As the EU recovery remains fragile, the Commission urges member states to continue reforming their economies and fixing persistent macroeconomic imbalances,” he said.
The Commission is now preparing for bilateral meetings with each of the EU member states to discuss the Country Reports.