“Credible implementation of ambitious structural reforms” to boost growth and achieve durable correction of fiscal imbalances must be presented by October. No effective action has been taken to put an end to the excessive deficit (but a one-year extension is granted).
Put an end to the excessive deficit by 2015 (a two-year extension), and attain a headline deficit of 3.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, 3.6% in 2014, and 2.8% in 2015. Pursue structural adjustments so as to reach by 2016 the medium-term objective of a balanced budget in structural terms (in line with the treaty on stability, co-ordination and governance – also known as the ‘fiscal compact treaty’). Take measures by the end of 2013 to bring the pension system into balance in a sustainable manner no later than 2020.
Preserve a sound fiscal position that ensures compliance with the medium-term objective. Pursue a growth-friendly fiscal policy through additional efforts to enhance the cost-effectiveness of public spending on healthcare. Improve the efficiency of the tax system.
Action under the excessive deficit procedure should be dropped. Ensure that the deficit remains below 3% of GDP in 2013 by fully implementing adopted measures. Pursue structural adjustment through growth-friendly fiscal consolidation so as to achieve and maintain the medium-term objective as from 2014. Achieve the planned structural primary surpluses in order to put the high debt-to-GDP ratio (forecast to be 132.2% of GDP in 2014) on a steadily declining path.
Put an end to the present excessive deficit situation by 2014 – a one-year extension. Reach a headline deficit target of 3.6% in 2013 and 2.8% of GDP in 2014.
Ensure correction of the excessive deficit by 2016. Reach a headline deficit target of 6.5% of GDP in 2013, 5.8% of GDP in 2014, 4.2% of GDP in 2015, and 2.8% of GDP in 2016 – a two-year extension. Implement the measures adopted in the 2013 budget plans at all levels of government, reinforce the medium-term budgetary strategy with sufficiently specified structural measures for the years 2014-16.
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Implement a reinforced budgetary strategy, supported by sufficiently specified measures, for the year 2013-14 and beyond. Ensure the correction of the excessive deficit in a sustainable manner by 2014-15, and set the high public debt ratio on a sustained downward path.
Co-ordinate the major economic reform plans of members of the eurozone, and monitor the implementation of structural reforms, notably in the labour and product markets. Explore ways of overcoming national differences in lending rates, especially to smaller firms.
Action under the excessive deficit procedure should be dropped for Hungary, Latvia,Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Romania. But for Malta, an excessive deficit procedure should be opened.
Country-specific recommendations were issued for all member states except the four programme countries – Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus – which are already subject to more intensive monitoring to restore macro-financial stability, growth and competitiveness. The recommendations are based on a Commission assessment of the economic, employment and budgetary situation in each country, and on the adequacy of the policy plans they have submitted.
The Irish presidency of the Council of Ministers has scheduled meetings among member state experts to discuss the recommendations before they are presented to employment ministers on 20 June, finance ministers on 21 June, and general affairs ministers on 25 June. The decisions of ministers will then be endorsed at the European Council on 27-28 June, before final adoption during July. Member states at the Council can amend the recommendations, but the Commission cautions that if they “were to be substantially softened, the process would lose credibility”.
Member states are expected to implement the recommendations in drafting their national budgets later this year, and formal assessment of each member state’s performance will happen in May-June 2014, when the Commission presents next year’s country-specific recommendations and accompanying analysis.