Written by Richard Freedman in cooperation with Andrej Stuchlik
The States-General of The Netherlands and the European Parliament are inviting national Parliaments to the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union (the Conference following Article 13 of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU (TSCG)). The European Parliament is also inviting national Parliaments to the Interparliamentary meeting on the European Semester Cycles 2015/2016. Both events are part of the 2016 edition of the European Parliamentary Week (Week commencing 16 February 2016). Both conferences will take place at the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels and will bring together Parliamentarians from across the EU.
European Parliament role in the European Semester
There are two key moments for the European Parliament in the European Semester. In the late autumn, it expresses its opinion on the on-going cycle and in February, on the Annual Growth Survey and the Alert Mechanism Report. To broaden the February debates, since 2012, the European Parliament also organises an inter-parliamentary meeting on the European Semester cycle. The event is part of the ‘European Parliamentary Week’.
The European Parliament’s own-initiative report on the 2016 priorities is currently under way. Rapporteur for the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Maria João Rodrigues, Portuguese MEP for the Socialists and Democrats is expected to present her report to the plenary on 24 February 2016. In addition to the ECON report, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) as well as the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) drafted reports to be voted during the February plenary.
The European Semester is a key monitoring element of the EU’s economic governance framework which aims to detect, prevent, and correct problematic economic trends such as excessive government deficits or public debt levels. As part of the annual cycle evaluation, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee notes insufficient implementation of country-specific recommendations in some Member States and expresses concerns that economic recovery may be threatened by the EU’s underlying structural weaknesses and regional differences.
On 21 October 2015, the European Commission proposed to ‘revamp’ the European Semester process and to better align overall EU/euro area with individual Member States’ recommendations. This change also includes publishing specific recommendations for the Euro area already at the very start of the process. Thus, the draft EP report, scheduled for Committee vote on 18 February, will also focus on these new Euro area recommendations.
The European Semester synchronises the timing of economic and fiscal policy reporting and evaluation at EU level, and introduces ex-ante coordination of national economic policies during a six-month period every year. In the Commission’s own words, the Semester combines different tools of economic governance ‘in an overarching framework for integrated multilateral economic and budgetary surveillance’. The aim is to create better rules and better enforcement of rules.
Selected EPRS publications relating to the European Semester:
From the Economic Governance Support Unit of the European Parliament
European Semester [Podcast]