eoA remarkable number of six Member States are going to exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovakia and The Netherlands. Good news in the country-specific recommendations issued by the European Community. “The European economy has come a long way since this time last year,” and “the recovery is gradually strengthening, becoming broader based and spreading across countries,” said Olli Rehn, Commissioner for the EU for Economic and Monetary Affairs, congratulating the countries that “have all brought their deficits sustainably below 3% of GDP.” In 2011 “no less than 24 Member States were still in the Excessive Deficit Procedure, while currently there are 17.” And provided the Council adopts the Commission recommendations, “the number will fall to 11” said a very satisfied Rehn.
According to the Commission’s analysis, the important commitment in terms of all-level policies that has been made lately has brought about a remarkable consolidation of the basis of the Union economy, but in 2014-2015 “growth will remain fragile and inhomogeneous” thus “the reform momentum should be intensified.”
“The positive results of the EU-wide strategy for reform are becoming evident,” said the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, “growth has returned and employment, still too low, is set to rise from this year onwards, albeit slowly.” Now, according to Barroso, “the fundamental challenge for next year is political: How do we keep up the momentum for reform in the EU without the pressure of the crisis bearing down on us?” For sure the way for the European Union is not leaving the path of fiscal consolidation: “There is no contradiction between consolidation and growth,” said Barroso. “Balancing the public accounts is a vital precondition for a surge in investments,” which are not to take place without “a climate of trust” in markets. Fiscal consolidation, added President Barroso, “in not positive on its own, it is an instrument for achieving growth and job creation.”
According to the analysis made by the European Commission, several Member States, e.g. Spain, Portugal, Italy and France “have implemented deep reforms to improve the resilience of the job market.” France in particular, just like Italy, needs to curb its public spending in order to get back the debt-to-GDP ratio within the limits established by European rules. “French authorities announced before the elections an important reform package that we think is targeted towards the right way,” said Barroso, who thinks “it is still possible to respect the commitments taken by France, provided that measures are adopted.” Sort of a ‘credit line’ for a country where the success gained by Marine Le Pen has highlighted an increasing eurosceptic mood.