EU European Semester
The European Semester is an EU effort to better coordinate member states’ economic policies. Coordination of national fiscal and economic policy has long been considered essential for the tenability of a monetary union lacking the federal features of taxing and spending. The European Semester coordinates national economies by setting collective deadlines for the submission, analysis and discussion of national budgetary plans as well as the various forms of economic coordination that the EU has accumulated through time, from the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (an agreement amongst EU members to prevent risky macroeconomic policy) to Europe 2020 (the EU’s growth strategy).
In policy terms, the European Semester provides more evidence for those who saw the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) developing through soft coordination, as some of the most notable outputs are Council recommendations addressed to member states. However, more intrusive tools such as the Stability and Growth Pact (the agreement by which all EU member states commit to maintaining the value of the euro through fiscal responsibility) are now framed within the Semester schedule. Importantly, the design of this framework exemplifies a broader shift in EU economic governance from an ex post monitoring of member states’ preferences to an effort to ex ante shape their adoption. This occurs by scheduling EU discussions before national ones, thus aiming to inform and shape the latter, and by imposing synchronised submission of different policy documents, thus forcing member states to be consistent in their commitments across policy areas. This might raise questions as to the limits of EU action, particularly in the light of subsidiarity concerns.
While the Semester is now part of the official jargon of EU and member states’ economic policy, commitment to such processes in the absence of external pressures (e.g. crisis) has been questioned, as recorded by falling implementation rates. Further, while the first years of the Semester were associated with weak economic growth, the picture has recently turned more positive. That said, there seems to be limited effect on macroeconomic imbalances, one of the main stated objectives of the framework.
KeywordsEMU governance Monitoring and coordination EU integration
JEL CodesE61 F02 O52
- Alesina, Alberto, et al. 2001. Defining a macroeconomic framework for the Euro area, Monitoring European Central Bank. Vol. 3. Geneva: CEPR.Google Scholar
- Begg, Lain, Hodson, Dermot, Maher, Imelda. 2003. Economic policy coordination in the European Union. National Institute Economic Review, (183).Google Scholar
- Blanchard, Olivier, Ostry, Jonathan, Ghosh, Atish. 2013. Obstacles to international macro policy coordination. VOXEU. http://voxeu.org/article/obstacles-international-macro-policy-coordination. Accessed 20 Dec.
- Buti, Marco. 2016. What future for rules-based fiscal policy? In Progress and confusion. The state of macroeconomic policy, ed. Olivier Blanchard et al. London: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Campos, Nauro, Macchiarelli, Corrado. 2016. A new measure of economic asymmetries in the Eurozone | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal. VOXEU. http://voxeu.org/article/new-measure-economic-asymmetries-eurozone. Accessed 19 Oct.
- Collignon, Stefan. 2001. Economic policy coordination in EMU: Institutional and political requirements. Harvard: Center for European Studies (CES).Google Scholar
- Commission. 2004. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Strengthening economic governance and clarifying the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact. COM(2004) 581 final. Brussels.Google Scholar
- Commission. 2013. Towards a deep and genuine economic and monetary union ex ante coordination of plans for major economic policy reforms. COM (2013) 166. Brussels.Google Scholar
- Commission. 2014. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Economic governance review. Report on the application of Regulations (EU) n° 1173/2011, 1174/2011, 1175/2011, 1176/2011, 1177/2011, 472/2013 and 473/2013. COM(2014) 905. Brussels.Google Scholar
- Commission. 2015. Annual growth survey. Strengthening the recovery and fostering convergence. COM(2015) 690. Brussels.Google Scholar
- Commission. 2016a. European semester 2016: Fewer member states have economic imbalances than a year ago. IP-16-591. Strasbourg.Google Scholar
- Commission. 2016b. European economic forecast autumn 2016. 38. Brussels.Google Scholar
- Council. 2016. Explanations of modifications to Commission Recommendations for the Country Specific Recommendations. ST 9327/16, (updated 13 June 2016). http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9327-2016-INIT/en/pdf. Accessed
- Darvas, Zsolt, and Álvaro Leandro. 2015. Economic policy recommendations in the euro area under the European Semester – IPOL_STU(2015)542680_EN.pdf. Brussels: EP.Google Scholar
- De Grauwe, Paul. 2010a. Why a tougher stability and growth pact is a bad idea. VOX.Google Scholar
- De Grauwe, Paul. 2010b. What kind of governance for the eurozone? Vol. 214. Brussels: CEPS.Google Scholar
- De Grauwe, Paul. 2010c. Crisis in the eurozone and how to deal with it. Vol. 204. Brussels: CEPS.Google Scholar
- De Grauwe, Paul. 2016. Economics of monetary union. 11th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Deroose, Servaas, and Jörn Griesse. 2014. Implementing economic reforms – are EU Member States responding to European Semester recommendations? Vol. 37. Brussels: Commission, DG ECFIN.Google Scholar
- Deroose, Servaas, Dermot Hodson, and Joost Kuhlmann. 2008. The broad economic policy guidelines: Before and after the re-launch of the Lisbon strategy*. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 46 (4): 827–848.Google Scholar
- EP. 2012. An assessment of the European semester, eds. Mark Hallerberg, Benedicta Marzinotto, and Guntram B. WOLFF. Brussels.Google Scholar
- EP, 2014. European semester: Why it matters. Updated 20 Jan 2014. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/pdfs/news/expert/background/20121019BKG54051/20121019BKG54051_en.pdf. Accessed 13 Oct 2016.
- EP. 2016a. The legal nature of country specific recommendations – IPOL_ATA(2014)528767. Brussels.Google Scholar
- EP. 2016b. The Euro area fiscal stance – IPOL_BRI(2016)587374_EN.pdf. Brussels.Google Scholar
- EP. 2016c. Implementation of the macroeconomic imbalance procedure – state of play. IPOL_IDA(2016)497739_EN.pdf. Brussels.Google Scholar
- European Union. 2012. Consolidated versions of the treaty on European Union and the treaty on the functioning of the European Union. 55. Brussels.Google Scholar
- Gern, Klaus-Jürgen, Nils Jannsen, and Stefan Kooths. 2015. Economic policy coordination in the euro area under the European Semester – IPOL_IDA(2015)542678. Brussels: EP.Google Scholar
- Giavazzi, Francesco. 2016. Euro-area fiscal stance: Definition, implementation and democratic legitimacy – IPOL_IDA(2016)574426_EN.pdf. Brussels: EP.Google Scholar
- Gros, Daniel, and Cinzia Alcidi. 2015. Economic policy coordination in the euro area under the European Semester – IPOL_IDA(2015)542679_EN.pdf. Brussels: EP.Google Scholar
- Hodson, Dermot. 2014. Policy-making under economic and monetary union: Crisis, change, and continuity. In Policy-making in the EU, ed. Helene Wallace. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hodson, Dermot. 2016. Eurozone governance: From the Greek drama of 2015 to the five presidents’ report. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 54: 150–166.Google Scholar
- Kok, Wim. 2004. Facing the challenge. The Lisbon strategy for growth and employment. Report from the high level group. Brussels: Commission.Google Scholar
- Monacelli, Tommaso. 2016. Asymmetries and Eurozone policymaking. VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal. http://voxeu.org/article/asymmetries-and-eurozone-policymaking. Accessed 12 Feb.
- OECD. 2016a. Developments in individual OECD and selected non-member economies. http://www.oecd.org/eco/outlook/economic-forecast-summary-euro-area-oecd-economic-outlook-november%20-2016.pdf. Accessed.
- OECD. 2016b. OECD economic outlook, vol. 2016(1). Paris.Google Scholar
- OECD. 2016c. OECD economic outlook, vol. 2016(2). Paris.Google Scholar
- Pisani-Ferry, Jean. 2002. Fiscal discipline and policy coordination in the Eurozone: Assessment and proposals.Google Scholar
- Pisani-Ferry, Jean. 2006. Only one bed for two dreams: A critical retrospective on the debate over the economic governance of the euro area*. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 44 (4): 823–844.Google Scholar
- Schelkle, Waltraud. 2005. The political economy of fiscal policy co-ordination in EMU: From disciplinarian device to insurance arrangement*. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 43 (2): 371–391.Google Scholar
- Tabellini, Guido. 2015. The main lessons to be drawn from the European financial crisis | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal. VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal. http://voxeu.org/article/main-lessons-be-drawn-european-financial-crisis. Accessed 7 Sept.
- Tabellini, Guido. 2016. Which fiscal Union? Building common fiscal policy in the Eurozone. VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal. http://voxeu.org/article/building-common-fiscal-policy-eurozone. Accessed 24 Apr.
- Wyplosz, Charles. 2011. Eurozone leaders still don’t get it. VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal. http://voxeu.org/article/eurozone-leaders-still-don-t-get-it. Accessed 25 Oct.
- Zuleeg, Fabian. 2015. Economic policy coordination in the euro area under the European semester – IPOL_IDA(2015)542677. Brussels: EP.Google Scholar