On 12 May 2015, the Finance Ministers of the EU, of the candidate countries and of the potential candidates adopted recommendations to ensure sound public finances and to increase competitiveness and long-term growth in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
“The enhanced economic reform programmes are an excellent tool to push competitiveness, long-term growth and structural reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey. I welcome in particular the positive response to this exercise both in our partner countries and within the EU. Now the time has come for all countries to implement these reforms to the benefit of their citizens. I look forward to achieving positive results”, said Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
The recommendations are based on economic reform programmes, which the authorities developed at the request of the Commission and submitted at the end of January. The programmes run over three years and focus on the macroeconomic and fiscal policy framework and – for the first time – also on sectoral structural reforms, for instance regarding infrastructure, education and employment, industrial structures, business environment and trade integration. The exercise is to be repeated annually. It is meant to help the EU’s enlargement partners gradually meet the economic criteria for the EU accession and to build capacity to prepare for reporting obligations under the EU economic surveillance (the so called ‘European Semester’).
The recommendations made today will be reflected in the 2015 Enlargement Package which will take stock of further progress following today’s ECOFIN Council.