Today, the European Commission has launched the 2022 European Semester cycle of economic policy coordination. The European Semester Autumn Package includes the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey, Opinions on euro area Draft Budgetary Plans (DBPs) for 2022, policy recommendations for the euro area and the Commission’s proposal for a Joint Employment Report.
The package draws upon the Autumn 2021 Economic Forecast which noted that the European economy is moving from recovery to expansion but is now facing new headwinds.
Annual Sustainable Growth Survey
This year’s Annual Sustainable Growth Survey (ASGS) puts forward an ambitious agenda for 2022 that steers the EU away from crisis management towards a sustainable and fair recovery that strengthens the EU economy’s resilience. It also sets out how the Recovery and Resilience Facility(RRF), the centrepiece of NextGenerationEU – will be more deeply integrated into the new European Semester cycle. This will ensure synergies between these processes and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens for Member States. Moreover, the ASGS lays down how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be further integrated into the European Semester to provide a fully updated and consistent SDG reporting across Member States.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility, with a budget of €723.8 billion in grants and loans, will have a central role in building a resilient economy that puts fairness at its heart. With the EU’s priorities embedded in the RRF, the European Semester will now better guide Member States in making a success of the green and digital transitions, and building a more resilient EU economy.
As of today, the Commission has endorsed 22 national recovery and resilience plans and the Council has approved all of these. This has unlocked pre-financing disbursements of €52.3 billion for 17 Member States since August 2021. Overall, the plans approved by the Council so far represent €291 billion in grants and €154 billion in loans. The focus now turns to implementing the recovery plans on the ground.
RRF pre-financing disbursements have already started providing valuable contributions to the four dimensions of competitive sustainability outlined in the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey: environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness and macroeconomic stability.
The Commission also calls upon Member States to ensure that national reforms and investments reflect the priorities identified in the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey.