Economic governance and planning
Economic policy is a policy of changing economic conditions, affecting social wellbeing and thus everyone’s quality of life. The aims of planning an economic policy and its measures are to favourably influence GDP growth, employment, price stability, the competitiveness of the economy and so on.
The European Semester
National economic policy goals and measures are related to the common goals of the European Union. In order to facilitate the achievement of Member States’ goals, the European Commission adopted a new method of monitoring and reporting at the EU level. It introduced the European Semester, the aim of which is to harmonise the reporting of the Member States on measures and plans for budgetary, macroeconomic and structural reforms. Every year, the countries of the euro area draw up stability programmes and national reform programmes, and at the end of each year also draft budgetary plans. The European Commission analyses these plans and issues specific recommendations for the next 12–18 months.
In the period from 2011 to 2013, the European Union responded to the financial and economic crisis by introducing stricter rules, according to which the trends in macroeconomic indicators, government debt and government deficit are monitored more closely. This prevents countries from spending more than they have. New methods for monitoring economic imbalances were also introduced.
The rules are based on the Stability and Growth Pact, which is the basic tool of the European Union for protecting economic stability and fiscal discipline.
A stability programme sets out a multi-year macroeconomic and fiscal framework and key fiscal projections and their components and evaluates fiscal objectives in accordance with the requirements of the European Commission and the Stability and Growth Pact. Under the European Semester, Slovenia is obliged to submit its stability programme by the end of April for the next three years. The European Commission examines the programme as to whether its goals and content enable the achievement of the medium-term fiscal objective. If the Commission assesses that the minimum required fiscal efforts will not be achieved, it calls upon the Member State concerned to take action and adapt the stability programme.
National reform programme
In a national reform programme, the Government sets out the planned work priorities and measures to achieve the specific recommendations and main goals of the umbrella development strategy of the EU. The document also presents the key policies of the Government in the process of the European Semester. In accordance with the rules, every year by 15 April Slovenia must produce the document relating to the next two years and submit it to the European Commission.
The start of the European Semester is marked by the Annual Growth Survey. In this survey, the European Commission calls upon the Member States to intensify their efforts in the three priority areas of economic policy – (1) stimulating investments, (2) implementing structural reforms and (3) providing responsible fiscal policies.
Draft budgetary plan
In accordance with the provisions on monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the reduction of excessive deficit in euro area Member States, all Member States submit draft budgetary plans to the European Commission by 15 October at the latest. In these plans, the Member States present main orientations and elements concerning fiscal objectives and measures for the coming year prior to their adoption by the national parliaments.
Structural Reform Support Programme
The European Commission introduced the Structural Reform Support Programme with a view to strengthening the capacities of the Member States to design and implement administrative and structural reforms aimed at sustaining economic growth, including assistance in the effective use of EU funds. The support is primarily intended for state authorities and public institutions and can be provided in various ways (e.g. by providing missions of foreign experts, comparative analyses, workshops and trainings, the exchange of good practices, consultations, and data analyses). Support within the programme, which can cover a wide range of policy areas, is provided by the European Commission on a Member State’s request.
The programme is focused on providing adjusted assistance and expert knowledge in the field with a view to monitoring the state authorities of requesting Member States in the implementation of the entire reform process or phases thereof as agreed in advance.
Slovenia’s contact point
The cooperation between Slovenia and the European Commission’s Structural Reform Support Service and tasks related to the implementation of the programme for 2017–2020 are coordinated by the Ministry of Finance: