Chapter News

Main results of the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council

Growth prospects and macroeconomic imbalances

The Council discussed growth prospects and macroeconomic imbalances under the “European Semester”, the EU’s annual policy coordination process.

It adopted conclusions, and approved a draft recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area.

The policy priorities for 2016 are investment, structural reforms and responsible fiscal policies. Regarding macroeconomic imbalances, the Commission is due to publish in-depth reviews in February of the situation in 18 member states.

The Council broadly agreed with the analysis and priorities set by the Commission in its annual growth survey. “Moreover we intend to strengthen and streamline the European Semester, as proposed by the Commission, so as to stimulate implementation of country-specific recommendations”, said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, minister for finance of the Netherlands and president of the Council.

The draft recommendation for the euro area will be referred to the European Council in February, with a view to adoption in March. The 2016 European Semester will conclude with country-specific recommendations in July.

Presidency programme

The Council discussed the Netherlands presidency work programme.

The presidency’s priorities include:
• strengthening the EU’s banking union;
• developing an EU capital markets union;
• strengthening and streamlining the European Semester policy coordination process;
• promoting promote action against tax evasion and tax avoidance.

Amongst other objectives to be pursued, the Council will continue work on further strengthening the EU’s economic and monetary union.