European Semester: EC issues Country Specific Recommendations
As part of the European Semester 2017 Spring Package, the European Commission published its 2017 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) on 22 May 2017.
The 2017 Semester cycle looked at research and innovation (R&I) as drivers of productivity growth and ultimately job creation and economic growth. In its accompanying Chapeau Communication, the European Commission emphasises that the objective of the recommendations is to make economies more competitive, resilient, inclusive and innovative:
"There is (…) a need for more reforms promoting research and innovation capacity and improving productivity. Such reforms could benefit catching-up Member States that are under increasing pressure to shift towards specialising in knowledge-intensive industries. They could also help countries with chronically low productivity growth. (…) Boosting innovation and productivity and reducing disparities in economic performance across firms, sectors and regions creates space for dynamic wage developments and improvements in disposable household incomes."
Amongst other issues, the current set of recommendations establishes connections between R&I policy and other policy areas such as public finance, education, or the business environment:
- With regard to public finance, euro area Member States that have fiscal scope are recommended, within the existing rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, to use it to support domestic demand, notably investment in infrastructure, research and innovation.
- In the field of education, better skills are essential for improving people’s prospects in the labour market and sustaining innovation and productivity growth.
- As for investments and the business environment, the rate of public investments in education, infrastructure and research and innovation should grow in those countries where there is room to increase public expenditure.