2016 Country-Specific Recommendations in support of the European Semester process
Taking stock of the first year of the “streamlined” EU Semester approach, we conclude that the European Semester should be further reformed to become an effective governance and enforcement mechanism that can ensure coherence between national fiscal policies and overarching sustainable development objectives.
The sixth cycle of the European Semester kicked off with the publication of the 2016 Annual Growth Survey (COM/2015/690) on 25 November 2015. This is part of a continuous effort to improve economic policy coordination in order to ensure the implementation of EU’s macro-economic rules in relation to the Stability and Growth Pact and the Europe 2020 strategy.
Given the high benefits of Environmental Fiscal Reform to foster low-carbon investments and achieve key EU objectives in the area of climate, energy, resource efficiency and biodiversity, we urge the European Commission and Member States to:
- phase-out all market-distorting environmentally harmful subsidies as soon as possible and by 2020 at the latest;
- increase the share of environmental taxes in proportion of the overall tax revenue – i.e. by shifting taxes away from labour to polluting activities by 5% by 2020;
- ensure that a revised Europe 2020 Strategy will be in line with the global “Transforming our world, a 2030 agenda for sustainable development and its implementation in Europe;
- link the Country-Specific Recommendations with the use of EU funds by Member States to ensure better spending and maximise benefits;
- improve the links between European Semester and European Funds, particularly Structural Funds, and
- ensure structured dialogue with stakeholders and partnership with Parliament by means of EU Guidelines to reinforce ownership and accountability.