European Semester Autumn Package and Brexit

22 November 2018
Knowledge Base

Commission sets out EU’s economic and social priorities for 2019 and confirms Italy’s serious non-compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact. The Commission adopted the Autumn package which represents the beginning of the 2019 European Semester cycle of economic and social policy coordination. Today’s package is based on the Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast and builds on the priorities set out in President Juncker’s 2018 State of the Union address.
European Semester Autumn Package

Concretely, the Commission presented the Annual Growth Survey which sets out the general economic and social priorities for the EU and offers policy guidance for the following year. The Annual Growth Survey calls on the EU and its Member States to take decisive and concerted policy action to deliver inclusive and sustainable growth. At national level, policy efforts should focus on delivering high-quality investment, and reforms that increase productivity growth, inclusiveness and institutional capacity, while continuing to ensure macro-financial stability and sound public finances. At EU level, the priorities are deepening the Single Market, completing the architecture of the Economic and Monetary Union and advancing the principles set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The Alert Mechanism Report, which serves as a screening device designed to detect the existence of macroeconomic imbalances, has identified 13 Member States to be subject to an in-depth review in 2019. The draft Joint Employment Report, which analyses the employment and social situation in Europe, shows continued job creation, decreasing unemployment and an improving social situation across the EU. The Report also includes the findings of the Social Scoreboard, which analyses the performances of the Member States in light of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Tailored advice

The euro area recommendation adopted by the Commission provides tailored advice to euro area Member States on issues relevant for the functioning of the euro area as a whole, such as policies related to correcting macro-economic imbalances, the euro area fiscal stance and the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union.

The Commission has also completed its assessment of euro area Members States’ Draft Budgetary Plans compliance with the provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact for 2019, taking into account its recent Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast and consultations with Member States. It has adopted Opinions for all 19 euro area Member States’ Draft Budgetary Plans today. For Italy, the Commission has carried out a new assessment of the prima facie lack of compliance with the debt criterion. At 131.2% of GDP in 2017, the equivalent of €37,000 per inhabitant, Italy’s public debt exceeds the 60% of GDP reference value of the Treaty.  Overall, the analysis suggests that the debt criterion as defined in the Treaty and in Regulation (EC) No 1467/1997 should be considered as not complied with, and that a debt-based Excessive Deficit Procedure is thus warranted.

First Enhanced Surveillance Report for Greece

The Commission has also adopted the first Enhanced Surveillance Report for Greece. According to the Commission, Greece has presented a draft budget which, on the basis of current projections, ensures compliance with its commitment to achieve a primary surplus of 3.5% of GDP. Progress with reforms in other areas is mixed and the authorities will need to accelerate implementation to meet their end-2018 objectives.


The Commission’s Chief Negotiator for the Article 50 negotiations Michel Barnier debriefed the College on the latest developments ahead of the European Council Art. 50 which is set to meet on Sunday. The Commission makes its in-house governance clearer, simpler and more transparent. The College adopted a set of targeted measures to make its in-house governance clearer, simpler and more transparent. This is an important step in ensuring the Commission is better equipped to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow and also follows up on recommendations from the European Court of Auditors and the Commission’s Internal Audit Service.

IT governance landscape

Under the reform, the Commission clarifies and formalises the mandate of the Corporate Management Board – an in-house structure which provides coordination, oversight, advice and strategic orientations on corporate management issues. Moreover, the IT governance landscape within the Commission will be simplified, as set out in the Commission’s Digital Strategy. The strategy sets a vision for the Commission to become a digitally transformed, user-focused and data-driven administration by 2022.

Strengthening the corporate risk management and its process

These measures also include strengthening the corporate risk management and its process. An update of the Charter of the Audit Progress Committee also tasks it with monitoring the Commission’s follow up to the European Court of Auditors’ observations on the EU consolidated accounts. The Commission has also revised the administrative arrangements on co-operation and timely exchange of information between the European Commission and the European Anti-Fraud Office. The new in-house measures adopted by the College have immediate effect.


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