On Thursday 3 September, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report on the European Semester, in particular regarding the EU’s country-specific recommendations for Member States
The auditors assessed whether the Commission’s application of procedures to strengthen surveillance of Member State policies had been effective. They focused on the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy targets and the implementation of the country-specific recommendations. They checked the application of these procedures in detail for Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands.
The report is expected to show the country specific recommendations address important issues, but need better implementation. The auditors are expected to acknowledge the EU’s good progress towards most of its key strategic targets for 2020, but single out slow progress in the areas of poverty, research and development. They will make a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the European Semester and the Commission’s work to implement the process.
The European Semester is an annual cycle of economic and fiscal coordination in the EU. Its outputs are country-specific recommendations the Council issues to each Member State at the Commission’s proposal. In this context, it influences Member States’ budgetary and economic decisions. Europe 2020 is a 10-year strategy to make the EU a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy.
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.