The specific recommendations for each country are documents elaborated by the European Commission for every Member State which analyse its economic situation and provide advice about policies and measures that may be adopted. They cover the particular challenges the Member State is facing within a large range of areas: state of public finances, reforms of pension systems, measures for creating jobs and for fighting against unemployment, education and innovation challenges, public administration efficiency, competition, etc.
Progress in adjustment of the macroeconomic imbalances and advances in a complete political reforms program are helping to regain the confidence in the Spanish economy. The Spanish economy withdrawn from a long recession in the third trimester of 2013 and employment stopped decreasing at the end of 2013.
Spain made progress dealing with the specific recommendations for each country. A continuous attention is needed to ensure the effective implementation and carry out the pending reforms. The recovery of the Spanish economy is still fragile and requires a prompt and full implementation of the reform strategy. The public finances management has been strengthened but a significant fiscal consolidation is still needed. Spain concluded successfully a program supported by the EU for recapitalizing its financial institutions, but the sector is still facing challenges and risks that must be carefully controlled and handled. The effective activation policies and labour market institutions and the reforms in products and services markets are the key for reducing significantly the unemployment rate which is still very high. The public administration reform is also progressing. Efforts have been made in order to create a larger and more effective rental housing market. Important steps to deal with the electricity tariff deficit have been taken, particularly by means of reducing system costs. Nevertheless, other reforms like the professional services law approval are still being postponed. Reforms for improving education adaptation to the labour market are on the course. The capacity of the social protection system to respond to increasing poverty and social exclusion is still limited.
There are eight specific recommendations for Spain issued by the European Commission for helping to improve its economic performance in the following areas: public finances; financial sector; labour market; education and training; social inclusion; products and services markets; network industries; public administration efficiency.
The Commission presents the strategy that must allow the European Union (EU) to reach a growth.
Moreover, the Commission suggests several aims that must be reached at the latest in 2020:
The Commission also presents seven flagship initiatives that must be put into practice at European level in the Member States: Innovation Union, Youth in Action, Digital Agenda for Europe, a resource-efficient Europe, Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era, An Agenda for new skills and jobs and European Platform against Poverty (which must increase cooperation between the Member States and take into account the coordination open method on exclusion and social protection. The aims of the platform must be EU economic, social and territorial cohesion as well as social inclusion of people in a poverty situation.
SOCIAL POVERTY REDUCTION
The Statistic of 2013 shows that 20.4% of the Spanish population, one out of five inhabitants, lives under the edge of poverty, as against 20.8% in 2012, a fall that does not respond to a situation improvement but to the fact that the risk of poverty limit decreases since population incomes so do. Moreover, this minimum reduction of the rate is also explained by the effect of the stability of people over 65 incomes, which risk of poverty is reduced by 2.1 points down to 12.7%, since their pensions remain stables despite lower incomes from the rest of the population. This retirees and pensioners group is currently in charge of their children and grandchildren because of unemployment.
The European Union established for 2020 five ambitious aims in employment, innovation, education, social integration and climate/energy. In each of these areas, each Member State has set its own aims. The strategy leans on concrete measures both from the Union and the Member States.
The group of people at risk of poverty and/or social exclusion according to the strategy Europe 2020 is called AROPE (At Risk of Poverty and/or Exclusion).
Domingo Pérez Auyanet
President of the Association of retired workers of Caja Insular Savings Bank of the Canary Islands