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Published by: Bruegel on Oct 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The objective of this Chapter is to assess the effectiveness of the process, which we
define as its capacity to deliver on enhanced economic policy coordination, which
ultimately coincide here with its capacity to achieve policy compliance at the
Member State level.

The analytical framework of the assessment builds on two concepts: i) actual policy
compliance, and ii) presence of the conditions that would favour compliance, which
we identify as being a) procedural adaptation; b) policy adaptation and; c) public
discourse visibility, all of which speak about the extent to which national
governments have acquired ownership of the Semester process.

The analysis is restricted to a sample of six representative Member States. At the
national level, we find that the European Semester is not sufficient to ensure policy
compliance. Member States generally ignore the content of recommendations
especially in areas where these are not binding and at the same time likely to fall on
a few concentrated vested interests (e.g. service market liberalisation). Whilst
actual policy compliance is disappointing, the analysed EU Member States display
appreciable levels of procedural adaptation, albeit to different degrees.

One unexpected result we obtain from the analysis of our small-scale sample of EU
countries is that national fiscal institutions including the timeline of the national
budgetary process do not bear any appreciable impact on each country’s level of
adaptation to the European Semester.

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