The timeline for the European Semester was approved by the EU’s Foreign and European Affairs Ministers, at their meeting on 31 January 2011. The Hungarian Presidency underlined the tightness of the schedule, and every member state must stick to the deadlines.
On 12 January, the European Commission presented the Annual Growth Survey, which marked the beginning of a co-ordination cycle called the European Semester. The aim is to harmonise member state macro-economic and budgetary policies and structural reform measures with common EU goals, according to the Stability and Growth Pact rules and the Europe 2020 Strategy. These are important steps towards economic governance at a European level.
The Hungarian Presidency has prepared a tight schedule to prevent the European Semester from dragging on. Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, János Martonyi, stressed that every member state must meet the deadlines proposed by the Hungarian Presidency.
The way in which the Hungarian Presidency will organise and coordinate the work of various council formations, could set a precedent in an area which is crucial to the EU’s financial stability, sustainable growth, and competitiveness.
The member states approved the timetable proposed by the Hungary Presidency. The Annual Growth Survey is meant to underline the guidelines and conclusions which the European Council will approve at its spring session, and member states’ medium-term budgetary strategies and national reform programmes to be finalised in April.
Prior to that, six Council formations and the European Parliament will hold a debate on the policies. In February, the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) and the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council will review the issue. While in March, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), the Competitiveness Council and the Environment Council will discuss the dossier, and submit it again to the Ecofin and the General Affairs Council.
If member states prepare their national reform, stability and convergence programmes by the deadline set by the Hungarian Presidency, the Commission can complete their assessment on time, by late May.
The program of the Hungarian Presidency, the preparations for the February summit, as well as the Roma strategy and the Danube region strategy will be on the agenda.
Hely: Justus Lipsius
Cím: Belgium Brussels, Wetstraat, 175
During a public debate, the Hungarian Presidency will present its work programme for the six months ahead.
The Council will discuss the follow-up to the European Council of 16 and 17 December 2010. It will prepare draft conclusions for the European Council's meeting of 4 February which is devoted to energy and innovation.
Ministers will take note of the presentation of the Commission’s first annual growth survey which marks the launch of the European semester of economic policy coordination, as well as of the Presidency's road map.
They will discuss the Roma issue on the basis of a roadmap drafted by the Presidency.
Following a presentation, they will also discuss the Danube region strategy.