In 2011, the EU introduced stricter rules to monitor the implementation of country-specific policy recommendations. Using a new dataset, this column investigates whether these new laws have increased national compliance. There is no evidence that these stricter processes matter for implementation rates, whereas macroeconomic fundamentals and market pressure are important determinants of implementation progress. These results suggest ways to improve the effectiveness of European policy coordination that go beyond stronger legal processes.
The authors use a newly-compiled dataset to investigate whether and why European Union countries implement the economic policy recommendations they receive from the EU.
Implementation of the European Commission’s country-specific policy recommendations (CSRs) is at a low rate overall. Whether this trend has continued, particularly among those countries judged to have excessive macroeconomic imbalances, will be evident in the soon-to-be-released reports of the Commission.
The authors study whether and to what extent EU countries implement recommendations on macroeconomic imbalances given by the EU in the so-called European Semester. Overall implementation of recommendations by EU countries has worsened in the last few years, in particular when it comes to recommendations addressed to countries with excessive macroeconomic imbalances.
Economic policy coordination in the EU hardly works: the implementation of economic policy recommendations made in the context of the European Semester was modest in 2011, and has deteriorated in each year since then.
The fundamental problem of economic policy coordination in the EU is that national policymakers are accountable to their national parliaments and focus on national interests, which in many cases differ widely in different member states. It is therefore not all that surprising that economic policy coordination in the EU hardly works.
This paper assesses economic policy coordination in the euro area under the European Semester. Despite the collective decision to create this new system of policy coordination, this paper shows that the European Semester has been rather ineffective.