Monday

26th Feb 2024

EU national recommendations at a glance

  • The commission's ideas range from fighting tax evasion to getting more women into jobs (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EUobserver's back-of the-envelope notes on Wednesday's country specific recommendations for 23 EU states.

Austria

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• Austria is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Bring forward the harmonisation of pensionable age for men and women

• Speed up the restucturising of nationalised and party nationalised banks

• Remove excessive barriers for service providers

• Improve educational outcomes

Belgium

• Belgium shall put an end to the present excessive deficit situation by 2013

• Pursue efforts to reform the wage setting system, including wage indexation

• Improve competition in the services sector

• Establish concrete and time-specific proposals for shifting taxes from labour to less growth-distortive tax bases

• Reduce disincentives to work

Bulgaria

• Bulgaria is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Fight tax evasion and welfare fraud, especially in disability benefits

• Try to get more older women back into work

• Improve the quality of higher education and the access to schools for Roma children

• Prevent "irregularities" in management of EU funds

Czech Republic

• The Czech Republic is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Scrap a scheme which lets people start drawing their pension five years before they retire

• Stamp out corruption in the civil service, including in the management of EU funds

• Put fewer people in hospital and get more to use day-clinics instead

• Reduce the number of professions which require minimum-length apprenticeships

Denmark

• Ensure the correction of the excessive deficit by 2013

• Improve the employability of people at the margins of the labour market

• Implement the reform of primary and lower secondary education

• Remove obstacles to competition in the services sector

Estonia

• Estonia is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Get more women into work by offering state-sponsored childcare services childcare benefit

• Reduce the number of young and long-term unemployed by offering more vocational training

• Imposing a tax on petrol-guzzling cars and higher excise duties on petrol

Finland

• Finland is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Increase the employment rate of older workers

• Enhance competition in product and service markets

• Boost capacity to deliver innovative products, services and high-growth companies

• Support the alignment of real wages and productivity developments

France

• France should reach a headline deficit of 3.9 percent of GDP in 2013, 3.6 percent in 2014 and 2.8 percent in 2015

• Take further action to lower the cost of labour

• Ensure that developments in the minimum wage are supportive of competitiveness and job creation

• Take action to enhance competition in services; remove unjustified restrictions in the access to and exercise of professional services

• Step up efforts to reduce and streamline personal and corporate income tax expenditures while reducing statutory rate

Germany

• Germany is not in excessive deficit procedure

• Complete the implementation of the debt brake in a consistent manner across all Lander

• Sustain conditions that enable wage growth to support domestic demand by reducing high taxes and social security contributions

• Remove disincentives for second earners and increase the availability of full time childcare facilities and all-day schools

Hungary

• Hungary is no longer under the excessive deficit procedure

• Encourage banks to lend more foreign currency to businesses

• Make corporate tax "more balanced and predictable" by removing sector-specific taxes

• Remove regulatory barriers against foreign investors, especially in services and retail

Italy

• The excessive deficit situation in Italy has been corrected

• Simplify the administrative and regulatory framework for citizens and business

• Strengthen the legal framework for the repression of corruption

• Shift the tax burden from labour and capital to consumption, property and the environment

• Remove remaining restrictions in professional services

Latvia

• Latvia is no longer under the excessive deficit procedure

• Reduce taxes for unskilled or low-income jobs, but create a new property-based tax

• Get more people, especially children, out of poverty by reconsidering a decision to lower the minimum wage

• Hire better people for key posts in the judicial system

Lithuania

• Lithuania is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Increase tax on property and introduce transport taxes

• Carry out a "comprehensive pension system reform," including a hike in the statutory retirement age

• Continue reform of state-owned companies

Luxembourg

• Luxembourg is not under the excessive deficit process

• Address the debt-bias in corporate taxation and extend the application of the standard VAT rate

• Strengthen the recently adopted pension reform, taking additional measures to curb early retirement and increasing the effective retirement age

• Reform the wage setting system, including wage indexation

• Strengthen general and vocational education

Malta

• Malta has until 2014 to reduce its deficit

• Improve supervision of the island's massive banking sector

• Keeping an eye on non-performing bank loans for real estate

• Complete plans for electricity grid link-up with Sicily

Netherlands

• The Netherlands should put an end to the present excessive deficit situation by 2014 at the latest

• Reform the housing market

• Increase the employability of older workers

• Reduce tax disincentives on labour

• Acccelerate the reform of employment protection legislation and the unemployment benefit system

Poland

• Poland has a deadline of 2014 to reach its deficit targets

• Help women find jobs by paying for more nurseries

• Scrap special social security and pensions schemes for former farmers and miners

• Create tax incentives for innovative and R&D-based companies

• Invest more in roads, dilapidated railways and broadband access

Romania

• Romania is no longer under the excessive deficit procedure

• Help people in isolated or remote communities to get access to healthcare

• Alleviate poverty, especially child and Roma poverty

• Improve the professionalism of public institutions

Slovakia

• Slovakia is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Combat tax fraud, especially VAT fraud, by increasing IT resources in public institutions

• Reduce youth unemployment, in part by improving higher education standards

• Build-up public procurement departments in government ministries

Slovenia

• Slovenia has until 2015 to meet its deficit targets

• Reduce wages and restrictions on temporary contracts

• Conduct a review of at-risk banks and implement a plan to create a Slovenian 'bad bank'

• Quickly privatise the NKBM bank group

• Quickly launch Slovenia Sovereign Holding, a new entity to manage state assets

Spain

• Ensure correction of the excessive deficit by 2016

• Conduct a systematic review of the tax system by March 2014

• Establish an independent fiscal authority before the end of 2013

• Increase the cost-effectiveness of the health-care sector

• Reinforce and modernise public employment services

Sweden

• Sweden is not under the excessive deficit procedure

• Reduce the debt bias in housing taxation

• Widen the use of work-based learning, apprenticeships and other forms of contracts combining employment and education

• Review the effectiveness of the current reduced VAT rate for restaurants and catering services in support of job creation

United Kingdom

• Ensure the correction of the excessive deficit in a sustainable manner by 2014/15

• Take further action to increase housing supply

• Reduce barriers to entry in the banking sector

• Reduce the costs of childcare and improve its quality and it availability

• Pursue a differentiated, growth-friendly approach to fiscal tightening

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