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European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

The Council endorsed a report highlighting the challenges posed by ageing populations for the sustainability of public finances in Europe.

Ministers' conclusions call for policy actions by the member states to resolve specific issues identified in the report.

The report finds that a decline of the working age population will act as a drag on growth over the long-term. Labour productivity will be the sole driver of growth.

The report sets out projections for the 2016-70 period for age-related public expenditure (pensions, health care, long-term care and education), as well as unemployment benefit expenditure. Published every three years, it was prepared jointly by the Economic Policy Committee and by the Commission.

Ministers called for a three-pronged strategy:

  • addressing the economic and budgetary consequences of ageing by reducing government debt;
  • raising employment rates and productivity;
  • reforming pension, health care and long-term care systems.

They highlighted the need to avoid measures that result in the reversal of sustainability-enhancing reforms already undertaken.

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