The council has presented the conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey 2013. The Conclusions’ first part focuses on the 2013 European Semester; the second part analyses fiscal and macroeconomic policy consolidation with special attention on restoring lending to the economy and promoting growth and competitiveness. Finally, the last part shows how to mobilise EU level growth drivers.
The Council has stated that the main priorities in the current economic situation should be reviving economic growth, ensuring debt stability and improving competitiveness, while creating conditions for sustainable growth and jobs in the longer-term. Finance Ministers called for a growth-friendly mix of revenue and expenditure to protect drive growth and protect essential social safety nets. In particular investment in education, research, innovation and energy should be prioritised. Moreover the Council invites Member States to establish the appropriate framework focusing on innovation, including new technologies and public and private R&D investments to raise performance in education and training systems and overall skills levels.
The Conclusions calls for reforms to focus on making labour markets more inclusive, flexible and dynamic, thereby providing conditions for a job-rich recovery and improving employability and adequate social protection, in particular of young people. Tax-shifts away from labour, notably low paid, could also contribute to increasing employability. Wage-setting frameworks need to be monitored and where appropriate reformed to ensure that they reflect productivity developments and contribute to safeguarding competitiveness.
The Commission should pursue EU actions supporting potential growth, jobs and competitiveness notably in the area of the Single Market Act and the Digital Single Market, since it may have significant potential to contribute to growth, employment and social cohesion and thereby to contribute to attaining the Europe 2020 objectives. More efforts should in particular be geared to the removal of trade barriers, better market access, appropriate investment conditions, the protection of intellectual property rights and the opening up of public procurement markets.
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