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European Semester Spring Package

The Commission presents the Spring Package around the month of May, providing EU Member States with tailored recommendations to address socio-economic challenges as well as detected macro-economic imbalances.

What is the Spring Package?

The Spring Package, published by the European Commission ('the Commission') in May, marks the beginning of the national dimension within the annual European Semester cycle. It offers targeted advice to each Member State on their economic policies and reforms, thereby building on the broader priorities outlined in the preceding Autumn Package. The Commission’s recommendations are based on an evaluation of the national policy plans submitted by Member States in April, coupled with an analysis of their respective socio-economic context.

Additionally, the Spring Package releases in-depth reviews assessing potential macroeconomic imbalances in EU countries, which play a key role in safeguarding European economic stability.

Contents of the package

The Spring Package includes the following documents:

Additionally, the Spring Package may include other relevant documents related to the European Semester process.

Spring Package Communication

The Communication provides an overview of the main elements included in the European Semester Spring Package.

The document is a ‘communication’, a type of act where an EU institution sets out its position on a particular matter, and addresses it to other European institutions.

Country-specific recommendations

The Country-specific recommendations (CSR) provide tailored guidance to each Member State, suggesting socio-economic and fiscal policy actions to be taken over the next year. The recommendations focus on policy areas that face persistent challenges or are only partially addressed by national policy plans. CSR can cover a wide range of topics, including public finances, pension system reforms, education, innovation challenges, job creation or addressing unemployment.

The Commission develops the CSR based on the country reports and its review of the national reform, stability and convergence programmes submitted by Member States in April. These recommendations broadly reflect the overall priorities outlined in the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey and the Council recommendation on the economic policy for the euro area, which are part of the Autumn Package.

Country reports

The country reports provide a detailed analysis of each Member State’s economic and social developments and challenges and assess the extent these are addressed by national policies. Additionally, the reports review the implementation of country-specific recommendations from previous Semester cycles.

Report prepared in accordance with Article 126(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

The report under Article 126(3) of the Treaty on the Function of the EU (TFEU) evaluates the compliance of EU Member States with the deficit and debt criteria. This assessment follows the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact, a set of rules ensuring that EU countries maintain sound public finances. Specifically, Member States must respect the following ceilings:

  • Deficit criterion: the annual government deficit should not exceed 3% of GDP
  • Debt criterion: the government debt should not exceed 60% of GDP

Member States exceeding these levels are expected to take corrective action. If a Member State fails to meet the deficit and/or debt criterion, the Commission can propose a recommendation to the Council to initiate the Excessive Deficit Procedure. The country then becomes subject to the corrective arm of the SGP.

Employment Guidelines

The proposal for Employment Guidelines sets common priorities for national employment and social policies to make them fairer and more inclusive.

Next steps

Following the publication of the Spring Package, the Commission forwards the documents to the other EU institutions and Member States for further consideration:

  • In June, the Council discusses the draft Country-specific recommendations and, with possible amendments, agrees on their final version. The CSRs are then submitted to the European Council which endorses them.
  • In July, the Council then adopts the final CSRs. Member States are invited to implement them.

Country-specific recommendations