The EU is experiencing several overlapping crises with severe social consequences: the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in addition to the long-term but already dire threat of the climate crisis. In addition to its direct severe impacts, the war in Ukraine has worsened food and energy prices, and thereby the existing cost-of-living crisis that many people across Europe were already struggling with. All these crises showcase the importance of decision-making at EU and national levels that focuses on the relevant priorities for the wellbeing of people. The European Semester is a key process for monitoring progress towards agreed EU objectives, as well as for influencing reforms and investments at national level.
Originally, it was created as a tool focused on the coordination of macroeconomic policies in 2011. In recent years, it has increasingly also become the central process for monitoring and steering the implementation of employment, social, and environmental policies at both EU and national levels. This is particularly the case since the incorporation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (Social Pillar) and its Action Plan.