The European semester is a mechanism to co-ordinate economic policies across EU member states to help achieve overall economic stability and growth. On 2 June, the European Commission published the 2021 European semester spring package. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this exceptional semester cycle has been adapted to facilitate the implementation of the recovery and resilience facility, RRF, with the primary change being that for 2021 there are no country reports or country-specific recommendations, CSRs. Instead, the spring package is focusing on providing budgetary guidance to member states.
In that context, member states received three generalised budgetary CSRs. For Ireland, these were: first, in 2022, to pursue a supportive budgetary stance; second, when economic conditions allow to pursue a budgetary policy aimed at achieving prudent medium-term budgetary positions and ensuring budgetary sustainability into the medium term; and, third, to pay particular attention to the composition of public finances, both on the revenue and expenditure sides of the balance, and to the quality of budgetary measures to ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery.
While the CSRs have yet to be discussed by finance ministers at ECOFIN, my Department has engaged with the Commission and other countries at the relevant Council committees and we have broadly welcomed the publication of this document in spring. Once approved by ECOFIN, the CSRs will then be formally adopted by leaders at the European Council.