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Social matters in close-up in the Annual Growth Survey 2018

Press release, 15 December 2017

 

The Seimas Committee on European Affairs met with Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Member of the European Commission, to hear a presentation on the Annual Growth Survey 2018 (hereinafter referred to as the Survey). The Survey marks the beginning of the eighth cycle of the European Semester and covers three areas where economic policy coordination is needed: 1) structural reforms focused on promoting growth and employment in line with the Europe 2020 strategy; 2) fiscal policies to ensure sustainability of public finance in line with the Stability and Growth Pact; and 3) prevention of excessive macroeconomic imbalances.

Mr Andriukaitis stressed that the Survey represented a continuation of the political course pursued by the Commission before. Having assessed the economic circumstances in Member States, the European Commission settled on EU’s economic and social priorities for the coming year. The Commission prioritises boosting investment in specific sectors, particularly in education, training and productivity. Another priority lies in structural reforms to reduce youth unemployment and social exclusion as well as to enable and promote innovation. Finally, an important priority area covers responsible fiscal policies intended to build up fiscal buffers to help economies to be more resilient to shocks and create space for increased investment as well as to improve efficiency of tax collection.

Mr Andriukaitis stressed a novelty in the European Commission’s approach, whereby issues pertaining to the draft Joint Employment Report were attributed to the European Pillar of Social Rights. This was done in order to improve Europe’s competitive edge, make it a better place to invest, create quality jobs and foster social cohesion. Trends and performance of Member States will also be assessed on account of equal opportunities and access to the labour market; dynamic labour markets and fair working conditions; and public support (social protection) and inclusion.

 

The Commissioner went on to inform the Committee on the results of the State of Health in the EU, a report that looks at the state of health in all EU Member States, including Lithuania. The latter does not seem to be faring well. Mr Andriukaitis therefore invited committees of the Seimas to give a serious consideration to health matters in Lithuania.

The 2018 Annual Growth Survey package is based on the Commission’s economic forecasts made in the autumn of 2017 and President Juncker’s State of the Union Address made in 2017. The package also takes account of the European Pillar of Social Rights declaration adopted at the Social Summit in Gothenburg.

The 2018 Annual Growth Survey is accompanied by the 2018 Alert Mechanism Report; Euro Area Recommendation 2018; 2018 draft Joint Employment Report from the Commission and the Council;  Proposal for the Amendment of Employment Guidelines; and Communication from the Commission on the 2018 Draft Budgetary Plans of the euro area.

 

Danutė Budreikaitė, Adviser, Committee on European Affairs, tel. +370 5 239 6727, e-mail: danute.budreikaite@lrs.lt

 

   Last updated on 12/22/2017
   Jolanta Anskaitienė

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