The European Commission has adopted on Monday the latest part of the European Semester of economic policy coordination, its Spring economic package.
The package contains 27 country-specific recommendations (CSRs) for all EU member states except Greece, which currently remains under its own bailout programme.
The CSRs focus on how to use reforms in order to boost investment, pursue structural reforms and ensure responsible fiscal policies.
“There is no quick fix,” said Vice-president for the Euro, Social Dialogue, Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, Valdis Dombrovskis.
According to the text adopted, the European Commission has decided to clear Croatia and Portugal from their excessive deficit procedure status, ending the disciplinary budget procedure against them. “It is really a very good and a very important, piece of news for Portugal, for the Portuguese economy, for the Portuguese people,” said Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s commissioner for economic and financial affairs.
However, France and Spain remain above deficit limits set by EU rules and Italy still faces macroeconomic challenges.
Spain, Greece and Britain also remain under the disciplinary procedure for their excessive deficits, however, Athens is expected to exit the procedure as soon as the second review wraps up. “We have gone from 24 to 4 member states in the corrective arm of the European Semester,” said Moscovici.
Greece’s excessive deficit procedure exit is near
Greece has also rolled back its excessive deficit below 2%. “We are currently closing talks on closing the review. I hope there will be a conclusion,” said the Commissioner from the Berlaymont press room. “The partners of Greece have to receive their responsibilities,” he added.
As for the necessary condition in order to take Greece out of the excessive deficit procedure, it is just the conclusion of the review. “Indeed all the necessary conditions in terms of aggregating fiscal performance are there,” said Dombrovskis. “What is missing is indeed the conclusion of the second review of the Greek programme. Our force is with the Greek program being on track. Hopefully, we will see a lot to progress in today’s Eurogroup.”
“I ask you to be more patient. The EG is being prepared as we speak,” added Moscovici. “Now we want to reach a global agreement.”